Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis the Season ....

                                           picture from here

.... to be jolly.
Ho, ho ..... oh whatever.

I mostly loathe this Season.
I really do.
And that ticks me off.

Because I didn't "before".
I loved Christmas and everything it entails.
It was a wonderful time of the year for me spiritually, emotionally .... the older kids came home from college for several weeks, and physically .... loved the parties, the goodies we only eat once a year .... I basically loved Christmas.

And then came my "after".
And it just so happens that my "after" began on December 18th, which is not only one week (exactly) before Christmas, but it's the birthday of my sister, my brother and my step-dad.
Oh yeah ..... it ranks right up there.
Well, it ranks anyway.

I keep thinking that this will get easier with each year that passes.
So far I have been wrong.
It has not become any easier.
I've tried .... I really have.
I've tried the whole "mind over matter" thing .... if I just don't think about it, if I just don't let myself go "there" ..... then things will be better.
Ummmmm .... not so much.
It seems that my body has a mind (and a clock, AND a calendar) of it's own.  It doesn't need me thinking about the time of year in order to feel it coming.  It pays no attention to my mind.  Sigh .....

I've tried the "distraction" method ..... if I stay really busy and make a lot of Christmassy plans, things will be better.
All that's accomplished is to make me really exhausted ..... as well as depressed.

I don't want to feel like this.
I really, really don't.
I want to make this a happy time for my kids.
It used to be.
And it sucks that it suddenly wasn't.
And that I can't seem to make it better .... or at least can't make myself feel better.

But the truth is .... I've been starting to resent this time of year .... and what has become a very huge part of it ..... the giving of gifts.
Again .... used to love it.
Used to be on top of it.
Used to have my shopping done before December 1st.
I know .... that's so obnoxious.
And SO pre-2007.

We are now past the 1st .... and I really haven't done much.
I think about it every once in a while, but then just stop thinking.
I resent having to buy gifts.
I resent some of my children for seeming to want nothing but gifts. (Note that I did not say ALL of my children .... in case you just happen to be one of my children .... and are reading this.)
I resent the feeling of being a human cash machine (to be fair, that's not just this time of year).
I resent that I seem to make some people happy if I spend enough money ..... or buy the right gift.

And I resent like hell when I hear women complain about what their husband did .... or did not .... give them for Christmas.

So yeah .... you can call me Grinch, if you'd like.
I'm ok with that.
Because I feel pretty Grinchy.
And I wonder if I always will?
Or will there ever come a  year when I will not feel depressed in December?
Is there some magic number of years?  Is it 5?  Because I'd totally love it if it were 5.  Then at least I'd know there's a light at the end of the tunnel .... in one more year, to be exact.

But I know there's no magic number.
For anything.
It is what it is.
Until it isn't any longer.

I will be very glad when that time comes.
And if it doesn't come .... please don't tell me.
I should have something to look forward to.
Doncha think?

P.S.  Sorry that we seem to have a running theme going of how hard December is (again, we don't contact each other about our writing, and I didn't realize it when I first wrote this a few days ago) ..... I really would've liked to have written a cheerier post, but I'm not there ..... yet.  I hope to be ..... one day.  In the meantime, I hope that each of you isn't drowning in depression from our posts.  :(


  1. Ahh Janine - I suspect we have a running theme because we are all feeling similar feelings - what was once a joyful time spent with family now has a great big hole in it.
    ... but strangely knowing that I am not alone in not feeling the Christmas spirit ... well, it's kinda comforting. Which makes no sense really, but there it is.

  2. if we are drowning in depression it's because it is what it is, for all of us; no matter when our "after" started Nov/Dec are just bad with the holidays. At the least the posts shows us that we are not alone, and that it is okay to be this way, no matter how many years- and believe me, it helps to know we are not alone. Hugs and prayers.

  3. There is hope..... I have put up a artificial 4ft tree this year. Not the beautiful tree we used to cut down and bring home but a tree. It has been 5 years. We loved Christmas and now I have decided to love it again. Does it hurt ? Yes but at the same time feels good. Doing it differently has helped. I know my Christmases will never be the same and that memories of 39 past years flood my mind but I have new ones to make. It takes time .....

  4. I think Christmas is difficult for many people, and especially women, even if you haven't lost a spouse. It's supposed to be this time of unity and peace and joy and happiness, and yet it isn't for many families. I was getting so that I dreaded Christmas even before I lost my husband, because I worked full time and there is just so much pressure on women to be the perfect "Christmas maker."
    Once you lose a spouse, it becomes impossible. I think that the only thing that helps is to keep it simple and give yourself lots of grace and curb the negative self talk. I think its also important to include their memory in some soothing way, whether as simple as a candle lit each evening in their memory or sharing funny stories--which is how my husband asked us to remember him. Blessings to all. Do whatever you have to to get through and be kind to yourself and know that you are not alone in your sadness and pain; there are many of us feeling just as you do.

  5. Janine, I am sending you the biggest virtual hug ever for being so totally honest! Only a couple days into December and I am exhausted from putting on the fake smile, artificial laughter and just viciously running from the sadness and grief I feel.

    It is actually a relief to read these December blogs and feel "allowed" in this private "W" world to be a grinch! Because as I have been told, this second year should be sooooooooo much better. Ya think????


  6. I think just the opposite, I would be drowning in depression without all of your posts. Thank you all. I feel out of place even in my support group, where most talk of putting up trees and plans with families and on and on. I am not there yet, and I understand that others are, so I just listen, hoping that someday I will be there , too.

    I dread the shopping part too, and have shared that I am not gifting to many this year, but instead giving to food banks, woman's shelter, or whatever cause I chose. But the kids....even adult ones (well, mini adult ones in their 20's) still expect material things. I guess I will drag myself to stores to accommodate them, amidst the songs and the decorations and cheer.
    Maybe some of it will rub off on me, but I doubt it, all I have to do is see a gift perfect for "him", and I am in tears. I never thought it would be this hard, for so long, day after day after day.

  7. at this point in this household it might as well be (pick a month with no holiday). 7 years in and there isn't even energy to go through the motions anymore. I've actually even thought about not decorating at the cemetary which has become the standard tradition these past 6 years. Seems too much effort and for whom? To spotlight the fact that half my family is at the cemetary? Each year I say I want to take a family photo for the holiday card - me and my daughter lying down next to the graves of my husband and first daughter. I don't know that too many people would find the irony of that - other than the folks that read these blogs. Reality sucks eh? Ho Ho Ho humbug.

  8. This year is different.
    This is my 5th Christmas.
    Every year I say, "I really don't want to hate Christmas this year"
    But every year I do... I HAAAATE it.
    But THIS YEAR... amidst all the holiday paraphenalia for sale where I work, I saw an Official, Charlie Brown, Christmas Tree...
    How fitting.
    It made me smile.
    I walked past it everyday for a week until payday and then I bought it.
    And putting it in the shopping cart made me so happy that I was inspired to buy a single string of lights for my bedroom window.
    So... in the little bedroom that I rent there is now a 1.5 ft tall Chalie Brown Tree complete with a little blue blanket (Linus's blanket) around the bottom... and colorful lights around my window.
    And I feel warm and fuzzy... even after a week (i was afraid the feeling would be fleeting)
    However... I am concerned about the fact that I have no plans. Considered Mexico or Disneyland with my 20 yr old son. But probably not.
    Maybe we will volunteer somewhere on Christmas... maybe that will make us BOTH warm and fuzzy.
    So.... I am crossing my fingers and praying for peace. I pray for peach for each of you as well.
    Love and Peace to you Janine.
    Gina Buck

  9. It's nice to see the running theme in December since it totally echoes how I feel and I know I'm not alone. Thanks to all!!!

  10. Wow, I need to spend more time here! I'm not alone or crazy or "taking too long" or anything. I just miss my husband and the way our family used to be. Just over a year and it's getting harder...not easier...and it sucks. There I said it, It just sucks!

  11. Janine, I have to agree with you,I am sick of it too! I am tired of being a human cash mashine for one of my daughters who just doesn't appreciate it- and then calls me selfish if /////I say no, even though she is 18 and should work part time while going to school! It sucks to be all alone to be doing this!

  12. It IS a relief to read that others feel this way. I don't have to pretend for kids and certainly no family to put on for....I buy gift cards. This is my third Christmas alone...I still cannot put up my beautiful tree that I used to have, and each year as I put my special ornaments on the tree I would thank God for letting us have another good deaths in the family....then it all changed. The worst I could ever imagine happening...happened. I wish I could say it is easier, but it isn't. At least for me. I never imagined how hard this whole "journey" (who named it that anyway) was. It is never going to be "okay" that this happened. I will never be "okay" again. I just hope whatever time I have left is not spent in this kind of pain.

  13. Janine, I never get tired of hearing that it's okay for me to feel the way I feel about Christmas. This is my 3rd one without Allen. This theme can keep going every day until well into January as far as I'm concerned...thanks.

  14. I totally agree with the blogger and posters, but want to add my two cents. I feel the same as all of you (two years out, going on third Christmas alone). With respect for the fact that we all grieve differently, here's my take. I find it miserable also, but I have pushed myself to put up the tree and my decorations, and albeit I am still walking around in a mostly numb and robotic state, I have a mantra that runs through my head which says "you are still a person." I also think about what my beloved husband would have wanted for me. When he was here with me, throughout our married life, when I'd ask his advice about what I should do, he'd say "do whatever makes you happy." I have not been happy for a long time. I miss him all the time. I have spent alot of time alone. But there is some warrior inside of me that refuses to give up and give in. Whatever it is that drives me, it still takes me a little longer, I'm a little slower, but I pull it off in the end, to my delight that I have not been taken down by the adversities life has put before me. I respect all of you, but encourage you to fight. Fight for your right to a life, regardless of what happened to you, and rest as much as you need, but please don't give up. It doesn't honor their life or your life, and I'm sure it's not what they would want for us. I am a mother, and if anything ever happened to me, I would hate to know that my child would give up on their life and their turn to enjoy life and all that it brings in this short time on earth. This is a long post, but in closing I'll add one thing. When I'm really down, I think of the people who did not survive 9/11. And I think of how they would have given anything to be on this earth, instead of going to work one morning and never getting to go home or be with their loved ones again. What would they say to us? We have the gift of life. Which means we have to fight for it, in honor of all those who weren't so lucky. Blessings to all.

  15. Thank you for todays post and the last several days and themes. I've been too tired to write in my comments. But I do read the blogs daily and lately they really help to not feel alone, even if I'm a little over 2yrs out and I'm still hating the holidays. The holiday season is SO painful. We also used to love this time of year, it was very special to us for many reasons, our anniversary, and the holidays all the aspects of it, the decorating, shopping, the food etc. Now it all is so painful. I hardly remember the first Christmas with tmy husband it was only 2month and I was in shock, or fog I kept thinking he wasn't gone just in the hospital like the Christmas before, he was in the hospital his last Christmas the year before. Last year going thru the emotions for the family - hating it on the inside, and once again not only do I still hurt from the pain of missing my loving husband especially at Christmas, but I get to spend another holiday season in the hospital with my poor Mom who is now ill... So thanks for letting this blog be the one place I don't have to pretend the holiday hurts like heck and wish I could wake up and it be January. So sorry if I'm still not happy, or attending the company party even if it's 2 yrs out. Bah humbug!

  16. i so agree with your post this is my first christmas with out my hubby my 25th without my first born son i love the idea of the family christmas card at the cemmetary mabey people would get why im not doing christmas

  17. Love this " I have not been taken down by the adversities life has put before me. I respect all of you, but encourage you to fight. Fight for your right to a life, regardless of what happened to you, and rest as much as you need, but please don't give up. It doesn't honor their life or your life, and I'm sure it's not what they would want for us"
    I believe this with all of my heart. We are here! They lived! Our lives carry on and I too believe that it doesn't honour them to stop living. That does not mean - don't honour the grief, honour their lives and our own, but never give up, never believe for a moment that the worst and darkest hours won't pass.
    let our lives continuing on . . . be the light.

  18. Thank you for these posts. I needed to know I am not alone in feeling so overwhelmed by the holiday season.

  19. Love all of the posts. They make me realize that I am not alone in feeling sad, angry, depressed, jealous during the months from Nov. to Jan. My husband died at the end of Jan., so I just carry these feelings into the New Year. This Jan. will be three years and it still is horrible, but these posts help so much. Please keep it up.

  20. It's good to know we all seem to feel this way ... but I'll admit it's also a bit frightening to hear those who are years out still feeling like this. I really thought it would get better.
    I was at 2 months last year and I ran away to Key West; it helped, I got through it. No shopping, no gifts, no big family meal. This year I started out feeling better and even put up the Christmas tree. Just the tree and lights. Two weeks ago. Just can't open up that box of memories that are the ornaments we collected during our 41 years together. So a bare tree is ok, I think.
    Thank God for online shopping, because I still can't bring myself to get out into that 'happy' throng of shoppers.
    Maybe next year ....

  21. Dianne .... While some of us do still feel like this .... it's still not as dark as the feelings were the first year, or the second .... and so on. While I don't think that December will ever be an easy month for me, I do believe it has, and will continue to, get better .... and a little easier. Small strides, to be sure, but I have learned to accept and appreciate even the smallest. I think it's good that you got your tree up. A tree with lights is better than no tree .... as long as it's what you want/need. Maybe next year you'll add the decorations. Maybe not. Or .... maybe you'll go with a brand new batch of them.
    One year at a time.