Sunday, December 25, 2016

Finding Solace

Rachel Diken went to Kitchen Theater, theater in a Maplewood kitchen, designed to address grief and loss and wrote a lovely blog post about it.  In this season, grief and loss are on my mind.  My son, Bobby Fullilove, died in October.  There are so many moments when I feel his loss.  Years ago, my mother made needlepoint stockings for Christmas, and they are a joy of the season.  But what do we do with Bobby's stocking?  Is it like retiring someone's number?  Should it be framed now?

And so I sit in the kitchen of my house with my two daughters, and various little children floating in and out, their joy infectious.  It is not formal theater, just the drama of life, finding ways to encompass loss.  Brian Handy wrote in the NY Times that "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was his song of the year.  He describes the series of versions.  Originally the song, written for the 1944 movie, "Meet Me In St. Louis," said,

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
But Judy Garland pointed out that audiences would hate that -- during the war years, it would have been too terrible.  It was rewritten to the lines we mostly sing:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
We just went through a year of extraordinary hardship -- witness the Year in Photos from the NY Times -- and it is inevitable that more is to come.  Handy notes the song offers the answer, "We will muddle through somehow."  And that is the key to the moment, to our various kinds of griefs and fears for the future.  We gather with our families, adapt our traditions to meet the new situations, cooking, eating, laughing, enjoying babies, muddling along somehow.

No comments: