When I'm asked, "How was your Christmas?" in the days following the holiday, my impulse is to reply with an honest answer. I was relieved when the RN taking my blood pressure sensed my hesitation and filled in the blank with, "Busy? Like everybody?"
"Yeah. Busy," I said in agreement.
The reality was much different than busy. Sure, there was busyness so I wasn't lying but there also was a weirdness to the Christmas season that was dark and unsettling. Nothing grave actually happened directly to the family, thankfully. Still...
A 20-year-old friend of my daughter dropped dead in her shower at the start of exam week. A blood clot hit her heart and she was dead before EMS could get her to a hospital. Another local teenager was killed in a car crash that seriously injured her three passengers and someone in the other car. A friend's wife died Christmas Eve morning. This morning, we learned of the car crash death of another acquaintance.
To go along with the list, we have to include our aging process and some new medical realities there and the same process working on those around us.
The cell wall of the family remains intact but there's someone out there with a micropipette probing and bruising that fragile membrane all the time.