Dawn Downey on How to Survive Christmas Alone

December 17

Pull the covers over your head to block the morning light, and rest in the spot where your husband ought to be. 

Remember sitting here in bed beside him, propped up with pillows, a map spread between you. You had traced the highways and picked the overnight towns between home and the retreat center out east, where you had planned to spend the last two weeks of the year. It turned out you had wanted to stay home. It also turned out Ben had still wanted to go. Ordinarily your disagreements ended with one of you saying I don’t feel strongly. Let’s do what you want. This one had ended with him standing quietly in his truth and you standing quietly in yours. Remember how your certainty had caught you off guard. 

  • If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. —Barry Lopez, in Crow and Weasel