Miso Soup, Christmas, and Debilitating Sadness

My Father ate nothing but miso soup the week before Christmas.

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Macrobiotic diets are said to do wonders for cancer, and my family and I were hell-bent on keeping him alive by any means possible. He hated it, but just as committed to ignoring the eventuality of his death as we were, he slurped down his (measly) body weight in tofu.

I’ve been tense and uneasy this whole month, feeling vaguely bad and blaming it on a thousand external things. The cat woke me up. I look bad in these jeans. It’s always raining when I want it to be sunny and sunny when I want it to be raining. Anything to avoid facing the reality of this giant loss felt, especially around Christmas.

None of us are holiday enthusiasts.

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My Dad carried that torch alone, buying gigantic filing cabinets and super sized pillows to create a mass of presents around the tree every year. He loved Christmas deeply; from the sacred birth of his Savior to the incredibly tacky icicles he covered our Douglas Fir in.

I eventually broke down and admitted something that feels ugly and ungrateful: I liked our family so much better with him in it. It was kinder and sweeter and funnier. It was more balanced. He left this void that nothing seems to make any better. With his death this source of unceasing affirmation of love ceased to exist instantaneously. It stinks.

So in honor of grief, and fighting my self-imposed need to fit in and make sugar cookies and sing carols, I made a gigantic pot of miso soup and bawled.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.

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