Monday, December 25, 2023

A Christmas Message for My Dear Friends

It's Christmas mornin' man!

I'm going to give two Christmas greetings in this post and I only want you to read the one that applies to you.  M'kay?

For those who are celebrating Christmas as usual:

Merry Christmas you sassy frasses!!  I hope that today is equal parts joy, gluttony and the occasional nap whilst surrounded by those you love and tolerating the few you have to bite your tongue around. 😆 Soak it in as it all goes by in a flash!  Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!

This next one is for the ones missing someone around their holiday table so I urge those not grieving to skip it.  My intention is not to bring anyone down on this special day and it'll still be here if you want to come back to it later in the week.


For the grievers:

(Pulls up a chair to the saddest kids table in a back room ever.)


I've joined your club.  I didn't want a seat at this table;  the one that no one is fighting for a place at.  The one others try to ignore because they think our loved ones "wouldn't want us to be sad" this time of year.  (Raise your hand if you've had to hold back a throat punch on that one.)  Sorry... that was me when I didn't get it.  I don't think I ever said it to anyone's face but thought it.  I thought the spirit of Christmas was stronger than the anguish of grief and I was wrong.  I thought memories of so many holidays past were enough to hold onto and be like a raft of sorts to help with the rough waters of the holiday season.  Well, that would be like telling Tom Hanks to just stuff Wilson under his shirt and float back to land.


How are we supposed to navigate what is the "most wonderful time of the year" when our loved one isn't here to share it with us?  Someone who loved us, made us, created magic for us, made us laugh, made us crazy or whatever that person was to you.  When you lose someone who was somewhat expected or who suffered for a long time, you can say those things you want to make sure they hear.  Does it make it any easier?  Hell no but you are grateful for the opportunity many don't get to say goodbye.  I felt that way with Grandma.  Our prayers turned from save her to take her and let her be at peace within two years of her dementia diagnosis but she held on for 7 1/2 years.  It took so much from not just her but our family as a whole and we never recovered.  But there was also a small bit of relief that she wasn't suffering anymore even though we didn't want her to go.

Less than five years later, my mom is gone.  She didn't have to be.  The signs were there had she had a medical team who gave a crap and if she'd only shared her results with us of routine blood work, I could have saved her almost 3 years ago.  You would not believe how many reading this can relate because many of you have bravely shared your stories of avoidable loss.  Where your loved one trusted doctors and thought they would take care of them and look out for them.  I mean, it's literally their job but they are likely spending the holidays with their loved ones around their table. of two.  Losing someone that way or suddenly where they were here one minute and gone the next has a different layer of pain to it.  I am not saying one is more painful than another, I'm saying you may have more to sort through because a lot of that turns into what doctors should've done, what you could've done and feeling like you were thrown into a whirlpool with no life preserver.  Just "here... new life for you that you had no way to prepare yourself for.  Please drive through."

So now here we all sit on Christmas Day and whether you're going through your first one without your Mom/loved one like I am or it's years or decades later, here you sit with this hole in you that means you will never be whole again.  I had about 37 years of my holidays always going to Grandma's Christmas day walking into her home with the smell of noodles greeting us and it felt like that's just how the holidays would always be.  I had 20 years of waking up Christmas morning with Mom and having cinnamon rolls for breakfast and opening presents before getting married and starting a new tradition of opening presents with her on Christmas Eve.  It was always my favorite day of the year because of Santa when I was little but Mom when I was an adult but knowing they were one in the same.  Christmas was special because Mom made it that way as so many mom's do.  Then Covid happened and because of health issues we couldn't gather because Covid or not, Mom was ALWAYS sick from October on because she was with a bazillion people hosting gatherings and making merry!  Much to my dismay the 6 years before Covid she always "shared" the fun of whatever she had so I was always sick for New Years Eve every year.  But we were working our way back to get back to the Christmas Eve tradition the Mr and I so loved and desperately missed...and this was going to be that year that happened which makes this Christmas all the more devastating for us.  

Slather on another layer to the grief cake.  🙄

So I sit with you this year back at the kids table if you've lost your parent.  Isn't that how we all feel when they're gone?  Like we're 4 years old and separated from them at the mall but with no chance of finally seeing them in the crowd, being reunited and feeling safe again?   The Mr and I will never have those joy filled Christmas Eve/Day's of hearing Mom's laugh fill the room even if she wasn't in it.  Those holidays we took for granted that that's just how they'd always be because she was too young to think otherwise.  I fear that I am now in the ranks of those who will permanently dread this time of year when so many others expect and cajole you into trying to be happy just like I used to be.  Poor dopes.  We envy them now because we know they have not experienced that loss yet.  One day they may feel like I did when I lost Mom and feel like they owe everyone who joined the club before them the biggest apology because they didn't get it.  You can say "I can't imagine what you're going through" to a grieving person and trust me, that's true because your brain is not capable of imagining compared to the horror that is.

To those who have lost a spouse, child, grandchild, friend or whomever has your heart feeling heavy this day, I hold your hand in memory and solidarity.  My heart is with those of you expected to go to a family gathering and slap on a happy face.  


Give yourself grace and tell others you may need it too to let them know today is a hard one even if your loss is not new.  Excuse yourself to the bathroom to ugly cry if you have to or find that person willing to cry with you away from the kids and grandkids.  We will likely be stuffing our feelings with too many stocking stuffers knowing some of them should've been from Mom and crying while listening to the 1965 Pickwick Living Voices Little Drummer Boy Christmas album as I have done for 49 years but the first year it will be painful to listen to instead of joyful.  If ANYONE has read this far, I can only assume 1) you too are grieving on this day or 2) damn you're a glutton for punishment! 😂  

Regardless, I am thinking of you all today grieving or not.  I am wishing you the merriest Christmas you can manage whether you are exploding with squee or your eyes are swollen, you have a cry-graine and are putting a pint of peppermint stick ice cream on them to reduce the swelling.  If you are lucky enough to have friends and family you are sharing today with, hold them a little tighter for those of us with empty arms where our missing person should be.  

I love you all... Merry Christmas. 🎄

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  1. I kept reading, today is also my dad's birthday, so between him not being here, and it only being 4 days since putting my baby boy husky to sleep, this christmas is a bust, just spent so much of the day crying, any little thing sets me off. I'll get through it, just need lots more time. Wishing all who reads this a very Merry Christmas, and tons of hugs to all who need one.

    1. Happy birthday to your dad. I'm sorry your Christmas was in the pooper too. Big hugs!


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