The Holidays

2020 has been a real rollercoaster. A lot of people have been so adversely affected by COVID-19 that anything else I have to say on the subject is really unnecessary; suffice it to say, I think most of us will be glad to sit quietly on the couch with a glass of wine and toast the advent of 2021.

But first: The Holidays

We had an okay Thanksgiving at our house in 2018. We’d just lost Faith, but we wanted to be normal so by heaven, we did the normalest thing in all the land and hosted at our house. It was fine. I cried. My husband urgently texted my sister to see if they could come over early because he didn’t know what to do. We all got through the day together.

2019 we did…nothing I can recall. Last year around this time I had a huge come-to-Jesus moment with a member of my family, and so the extended family get togethers have stopped for us, for right now at least. I was unprepared for that loss heaped on top of all my other losses, but it happened and part of adulthood is accepting the results of your choices. I can’t do unhealthy relationships anymore, and I’m not prepared to compromise that decision, even though I wish I could. The whole situation makes my heart hurt. Family drama is no fun, and I’m sad about it. And, maybe I messed up, maybe I burned some bridges because my grief made me too sensitive. I don’t think I did the wrong thing, but here we are over a year later with no change, so I don’t know. Maybe I’m just SOL for no reason and I brought more pain down on myself because I was sad and angry and hurt. I don’t THINK I did the wrong thing, but honestly, if there’s one thing I’ve learned since October 22, 2018, it’s that I don’t know much and it’s possible to be dead wrong even if you think you have all the facts.

Last year I made a turkey for me and my husband, just the two of us. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. Maybe because it was the normal thing to do…? I made the turkey and the sides, then looked at the whole meal and realized I wasn’t hungry. Neither of us wanted to eat. We had some food anyway and then put the leftovers in the fridge. I think probably about 75% of that turkey went to shameful waste.

I went to TJ Maxx the other day and Christmas was EVERYWHERE. Which is fun–lots of cute/pretty/nifty stuff to look at. I bought a pine-scented candle. The problem is, every time I start to get excited about the holidays I also feel sad. I know the holidays are a trigger for lots of people who grieve; the gifts you don’t buy, the people you don’t see, the moment when you think “this is the x number of Christmases since they’ve been gone”.
I’m not special or alone in this feeling. Just, God dammit, I want to be happy and there’s a weight on my heart that crushes the tinsel and lights and trees and turkeys.

Sorry, this post is just a downer. I’m sad today.
I feel isolated and cut off from my past and my future, like I’m just out here by myself. I know that’s not true; I know I have family and friends who love me. It’s just, the holidays are a time to be with the people you love, and two of the three people I love most in the world aren’t here and will never be here. I don’t want to be the specter at the feast, the sister everyone worries about, the aunt who doesn’t have much to say, the friend that smiles at other people’s babies but can’t contribute to the conversation about weaning methods, the mom who doesn’t have any kids. This is the time of the year when I feel like I don’t fit anywhere. I want people to feel free to enjoy their time, not to worry about me. I’m not fun, and they shouldn’t have to invite the sad chick.

I’ve been invited to a post-Thanksgiving dinner, I’m grateful to be asked, and it’ll be a good time. My Bible study group is doing an outreach meal that day too [maybe? COVID?], so that’ll be good. My master plan is to be as cheerful as possible–fake it til you make it–and then go home and hopefully not cry myself to sleep. And who knows, maybe it’ll be a great day and I won’t cry at all! Maybe I’ll be so fine, the finest, the best. Maybe it’ll be the easiest day ever and I’ll have a lot of fun. I really hope so, but I’m fully prepared for it not to be. Honestly, given the way I cried all the way home after a 4th of July barbecue, maybe holidays just aren’t for me anymore.

And that’s okay. I’m different than I was, and that’s okay too. I’d rather have a good steak this year than a turkey. I’m gonna try not to cry in public. My husband and I will have a really quiet Christmas, just the two of us, like we have for the past few years. We’ll be sad, but that’s okay.

Today I’m sad, but that’s okay.

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