People keep dying, for a start. An old friend in early January - 'old' in both senses of the word, and not a close friend these days, but I was sad for a little while. Then a a slightly famous person who was a friend of my former husband's family, I never met her (she lived in America) but she was a big feature in their lives, and I heard on the radio that she had died, which felt oddly like another connection broken. Then a friend, younger than me, who died of cancer, that was proper sad. And now my elderly uncle is in hospital, very ill indeed, and unlikely to come home.
Then there are the two friends being investigated for suspected cancer; the young friend whose boyfriend dumped her a few days after she'd been on the phone to me exulting about how happy she was with him and how she really thought she'd got it right this time; the old friend who announced that she wanted out of her marriage after almost 30 years because of her husband's alcohol abuse (I had no idea); the other friend whose ten-year-old daughter got run over, leg badly broken, needed an operation and a week in hospital...
I'm pretty much okay, although I feel rather as if I'm on a hilltop with flood waters lapping all around. The deaths are sad, and weird, but I wasn't hugely close to any of the people who died; also, all the deaths were expected; and none of them change the daily pattern of my life. The deaths of immediate family members, partners/spouses, close friends; they're the really hard ones to cope with. But it is a bit unsettling when a few come along at once. Also, the stressed-out living are needing a lot of support. I'm beginning to feel anxious when the phone rings, which is not a good sign.
So last night I had six sips of lovely red wine, and one sip of gorgeous single malt whisky. The Paramour had made me one of my favourite meals: gnocchi with dolcelatte, and steamed buttered spinach on the side. Red wine is almost mandatory with that. I don't feel as if I've fallen off the wagon, I feel as if I've stuck an arm out to test the temperature. I found that I wanted the taste, not the alcoholic effect. That feels like real progress!