Caregiving: Dear Hogfather

Dear Hogfather,

It’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s not you, it’s me. Isn’t it always? I’ve been meaning to write, really I have. It’s just that one thing happens and inevitably another follows. I must stop saying “just” as much as I do. It diminishes the importance of meaning.

Oh Hogfather. I keep wondering what to ask for. I keep thinking of an unfortunate number of innuendos involving stockings, too. Some things seem far too big to even ask for. Some things feel utterly inconsequential. I have a flickering of an idea, but once again I fear I’m asking for too much.

I’ve been a good girl this year, Hogfather. Mostly. I think. I’ve tried to be a good woman. A good person. I’ve tried. Will that be enough? There are so many quiet moments when I feel that I haven’t tried hard enough. I wonder what I could have done differently. If there was something, anything, I could have changed. The thing is, I know there are things I could have done differently. And then I wonder where those “what ifs” would have led. Would it really have been all that different? For better or worse?

At least, I don’t think I’ve been bad. Making difficult decisions doesn’t mean being bad, acquiescing to an alternative wouldn’t have been good. Only, I don’t think that difficult decisions are inherently good, either. They’re necessary. Not necessary evils. Just necessary. I was going to stop saying “just,” but maybe now is the right time for it. Necessary isn’t always important, it isn’t always meaningless, sometimes it just is. I’m writing myself in circles, Hogfather, I know. I’m trying to avoid asking for what I want.

Asking for a perfect Hogswatch would be too much, I know. I’m not sure what a perfect Hogswatch would be anyway. A Hogswatch with loving family is perfect, isn’t it? So why I’m asking for more, I’m not sure. Except I do know, really. I’m still reeling from last year. I won’t wish that I wasn’t. Wishes make me uneasy. It could have been worse. It could have been cataclysmically worse. That’s what I hold onto. I know last year wasn’t hard by design. The losses were inevitable. I wouldn’t change my part in the aftermath, I know that. I know he doesn’t blame me either. The illness that stopped by was out of my control, too. But everything else? I have wrestled this past year with knowing I could have changed things. I keep thinking I want that month back. Those few days back. When I remember Little Juniper’s first Hogswatch, I want it not to be tainted by memories of bawling in the kitchen. Of phone calls that dissolved into tears. Of a Hogswatch where I was still shaky. I want to remember nothing but the shrieks of laughter. The ripping of wrapping paper. The discovery of clapping. Two beautiful happy boys.

It is too much to ask for. I can see that, really I can. Expecting all the difficulties of the world to be suspended for twenty four hours is a big ask. Asking for the rest of the month to be likewise is verging on obscene.

So this is what I’m asking for, Hogfather: the sun. This year, too often a mere ball of flaming gas has illuminated the world. And I miss the sun, Hogfather. Really, I do. Please, Hogfather?

Love,

Juniper

xoxo

N.B. I’ll try and remember to leave out pork pies and a glass of something sturdy this year.

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Juniper

Rarely to be found without herbal tea nearby. Team Unicorn. Often in pyjamas. Also: TEAM KATNISS!

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