Saturday, 11.28.2015 - 8:18 pm.
Today at noon Andrew and I hosted some kind of Thanksgiving-y meal. We got together with three PhD students, one our Chilean friend (Andrew's classmate in their undergrad years) with her husband and daughter; J., a funny 23-year-old British lad; and L., an over-40 years old student from the United States. We thought about getting together a few weeks ago, so L. could celebrate. She has two grown children but she is here on her own.
It was to be an occasion to hang out outside the Psych department and it turned out to be a wonderful afternoon. We didn't have any traditional Thanksgiving foods...I guess, I've never been to one of these meals. We didn't have turkey, in fact, we didn't have meat at all (that's a yay, for me at least). There were wraps in the horizon, with chicken, but we were too full with all the appetizers that everyone brought. And then we skipped to dessert, which consisted of cookies and pie.
The conversation was non-stop, and in the end we spent like three hours sitting at the table, just talking. We were people from North, Central and South America, and Great Britain, so we had a lot to talk about each other's nations customs and quirks. This morning I was slightly regretting hosting this meal because I realized we hadn't planned it very well, but it was so great and...yeah, I'm thankful for it.
It was also an opportunity to show off our new little Christmas tree! It came in the mail yesterday (haha) and it looks so pretty. We've started decorating our house and I'm already feeling the holiday cheer. This season is bittersweet, I usually have lots of reasons to enjoy it but I know that is a huge contrast with others who have a hard time. The more cheerful a season, the more miserable it can be for some people.
Speaking of holidays, I bought Andrew's christmas gifts this morning. I've been giving it a thought for over a month and made a list of possibilities. I couldn't decide between a Monty Python's t-shirt (and deciding among t-shirts was another struggle), a nice sweater to replace one he has that has a couple of holes, or a gamer mousepad. I bought all three. One will be from our cats, Marla and Nico.
And anyway, each of them may fail on their own, so it's best to have a back-up. The t-shirt and/or the sweater may not fit or be of poor quality, and the gamer mousepad may be redundant if he goes ahead and buys himself.
One of these days he decided to attend a seminar on mental health at the Psych department. He said he wanted some help with his mood swings and wanted to know the options for getting counseling over his brother's death (obviously he never says it like that, it's just "over my brother"). I don't bring up that topic because I realize it's really painful and uncomfortable for him, so I was glad to hear him say it, especially in the context of getting help.
That also reminded me that the first anniversary of his brother's death is approaching. I mean, I know that (on our wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, I thought that this was the last time we saw him alive), but I had not connected it to his recent mood swings. When he mentioned that he wanted to attend the seminar, due to his mood swings and to get help, I made the connection. "Oh. Perhaps that's why he's been so snappy". Also, a week before, we had to attend a compulsory seminar on suicide and he got tearful for a moment.
(It eats me up inside to know that his brother did not really kill himself...at least according to his mother and the new detectives working on his case, but I have no idea if I should say it or when or how. I do not know if it's my place, especially without me having any real evidence of this other than "your mother told me" when he's not always on the best terms with his mother. My only argument is the fact, no, the suspicion that not all the make-up skills in the world could have him looking the way he looked in the casket, I think, if he had fallen 17 floors as it was originally reported).
But Andrew's been better this week. Mostly, I believe, because last weekend he had a meltdown over the internet connection not working properly and in his rage he ended up falling down the stairs. Jesus Christ, I rushed to him anguished, and I automatically started crying. I found him sitting on the first step, he was crying too but it was mostly out of embarrassment and general frustration. He slipped on one of the steps in the middle and hit and bruised his arm. He was in pain all week and I insisted we went to see a doctor or at least buy something for the pain, but it seems it is healed by now.
That was probably his wake-up call, when he realized he's really losing it and needs help. He should know, and probably does, he can't run away forever from dealing with his brother's death. Let alone when the anniversary of his passing is approaching, let alone when the anniversary is on fucking December 23rd. These things will haunt you one way or another, so at least try to face them so they won't stab you in the back in the least expected ways.
Oh, and he did attend the mental health seminar. It wasn't quite about what he expected so he didn't get anything out of it. But at least now there's the motivation to go to the Student's Health Services. We nearly went broke paying for our four-year-long health insurance when applying to our visa for this country, so we might as well make something out of it.