Don’t you find that every Christmas has its own vibe and dynamic?
I reminisce about Christmases past and there are things that stand out that I will never ever forget.
From childhood Christmases, there is always the cozy sounds of Johnny Mathis while running around in my pajamas getting ready to put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. Adult Christmases bring back loving memories of my late husband and those first Christmases with our young son. I remember those Christmases as being simple in decorations and gifts and always having a feeling of innocence.
And then there are the blur of Christmases after my husband’s death and the slow realization that it was up to me to find a different way to celebrate the holidays.
Well meaning people would offer advice such as: “Just keep busy,” “Stay strong for your child,” “Don’t feel bad, he’s not suffering anymore.” or even “Just keep smiling.” It is all given to me with the best of intentions but somehow it didn’t make me feel better.
This past Christmas is one that I think I will remember as a Christmas where the art of patience and negotiation were personally practiced at a deeper level. I think I personally broke new ground within myself and that surprised me for I am not a naturally patient person and it has taken me a number of years to figure out how to handle the holiday season as a single person. There has been a lot of trial and error on my part and a lot of effort put into focusing on the big picture instead of the little rituals that I associate with the holidays.
Hopefully I am getting a little better at being one with the holidays and I write about this today to let others who are rebuilding their lives after a loss or a traumatic life change that it’s important to keep trying. I know that you feel overwhelmed. But change is incremental and we should always hope even when we don’t always feel it within ourselves. I know all too well how easily holiday excitement can turn into holiday anxiety and confusion. You are not the first person to leave a holiday party because you weren’t feeling very “merry.”
But I think this year the light bulb went on for me about understanding — in a way I never did before — that keeping an open heart is essential to finding the spirit of the holiday season. Being open to the flow of life even when it’s not going in the direction I thought it would or the direction I want. I still have a long, long way to go but I feel that this year I took an important first step in a new direction and I intend to keep working at it.
I do hope that this holiday season brought some comfort and joy into your family and I wish you the very best as we move towards a New Year.