This has not been a banner holiday year for me. I am trying to wear the smile and trying to feel the holiday spirit, but it is eluding me thus far. There is just so much this year: continued estrangement from my son, family issues, health issues, the first anniversary of the loss of our dog this time last year. The emptiness that I have done so well filling has suddenly returned with a bang.
On the way to work yesterday, I was listening to Christmas songs in the car and I found myself singing along, but I was changing the lyrics, making it up on the spot. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” became “Have Yourself a Crappy Little Christmas”. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” became “It’s the Suck, Suckiest Time of The Year”. And so on and so on. I had to laugh, but I also had to sigh, realizing that perhaps I feel a little more bitter and jaded than I thought.
The joys of Christmas seem to come with either being a child or having a child. As a parent, if your child is torn away from you, can Christmas ever be the same? It’s hard to find true joy in your heart when a hole has been ripped through it. I know I need to make the best of the holiday as I can, and I do try, but that hole inside me can’t be filled. It’s something only a parent could understand. There is a song by Amy Grant, “My Grownup Christmas List” and part of the song goes: “As children we believe, the grandest sight to see, is something lovely wrapped beneath the tree. But Heaven surely knows, that packages and bows, can never fill the hurting human soul.” Oh, how I can’t hear that song without choking up, even all these years later. And although my heart may heal, my soul remains hurt, scarred.
I have to wonder from time to time, does my son miss me like I do him? Does the holiday make him feel this loss at all? Does his heart hurt at all not having his mother, as much as mine hurts not having my son? I won’t get the answers to these questions and I try not to dwell on them.
Please, everyone, especially at this time of year, find love and forgiveness in your heart. Don’t let another day go by allowing petty differences to rob you of relationships that you and others deserve. Life is too short, and sometimes it is cut off without warning or time for amends. We all make mistakes, we all do the best we can with what we have, we all take things wrong or listen to the wrong people. Don’t let those things take away the good parts of your life or yourself. After all, we are all just trying to make it through this life. How much better it could be with love and understanding…