Thanksgiving was a beast in itself but Christmas can be the kraken in unicorn’s clothing. I love parts of Christmas like the lights, smell of Christmas trees and giving others gifts. It’s the other parts - families gathering, couples under the mistletoe, Hallmark everything that always ends up like a fairytale…
Tin was 1000% in with Christmas. We had decorations everywhere and so many lights that 9pm felt like 9am. He lit up at the chance to decorate and wrap presents and I loved sitting on the couch and watching him wrap gifts by the tree. I just can’t get that image out of my mind every time I get a gift for someone and think of wrapping it. A chill runs and I know I’m being visited by my Ghost of Christmas Past. I want to love Christmas again but that healing is in the hands of Father Time.
So ensues the expected question:
“What are you doing for the holidays? Are you going home?”
Attempting to hold in emotional expression, “No. Not this year.”
“So your family is coming than?”
Again maintaining a neutral reaction, “Nope.”
And than it hits:
“So you’re spending the holidays alone this year?” with a clear saddened expression.
I can’t control the shoulder shrug. It’s automatic to look down at the floor so I don’t have to see their reaction but more importantly I don’t want to see my own grief in reflected back in their eyes. In an effort to search for a solution for me they continue:
“Oh well what are you doing? Going to a friend’s?”
“Ah. My friends are with their families or out of town.”
The conversation awkwardly ends and I feel worse but I’m not sure if I feel worse for myself or for the person that was just asking a “normal person’s life” question. It’s a double hit when your loss causes others to feel bad in a time when they are just looking for conversation and connection. They are less likely to reach out next time and I fight daily to ward off the cloak of widowed lonely.
Then there are the beautiful friends that see me for where I am and invite me into their home. I want to go but the opposite happens and I fear the moments when they are opening each other’s presents and I fade from sight like a Ghost of Present Time.
Now I wait. I wait for the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Future. Is he wrapped in chains of holiday grief or is he lifted by the spirit of the season?