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November 22, 2019 at 9:11 pm #96528AUSSIEMOMParticipant
As I’ve been around this estrangement for many years, semi-estranged then full estrangement things happen which can change our traditional celebrations and adjusting to this is not easy. Sometimes, there is no going back, either, which is another layer of grief, regret and sadness.
Years ago, when my late husband and my father died within three months of each other, my husband in June of that year, my father, in September, I thought that whatever Higher Power had a hand in this had just gone too far. My husband dying was one thing, my father, though unwell, it seemed just one too many deaths to cope with. My mother and I were widows at the same time. We both were adjusting. But those two deaths impacted on me in a way that has been everlasting. I could not face Christmas as we’d always had before, decorating the house, bringing in a Christmas tree, Christmas carols were offensive to hear, a reminder of happier times. My son, six at the time, pulled out the Christmas decorations and he decorated the Christmas tree himself. When I think of it I wonder how he managed to do it. Christmas has always been a special time for him and I have failed him in this celebration. And then, with the estrangement of my daughter, Christmas meant even less for me. I confess, it is simply one of those things that I am a failure at, celebrating Christmas and having the Christmas spirit. And there is this to it, I’ve always, from the time I had children, resented the commercialism of Christmas. The best thing about Christmas to me was going to church on Christmas Eve for the midnight service and having family for Christmas. But times change. My late mother-in-law used to be rosy-cheeked, getting a Christmas turkey dinner for her family of six children, spouses, grandchildren, then we would go back to our home, my husband and I and have my mother and father’s family for a Christmas supper. Those times went with the deaths of two people. Life changed. And then, with an estrangement in the family, life changes again.
Finding my centre around Christmas, I have come to the place where I honour my feelings of loss. Christmas at 82 doesn’t have the same meaning either as for those who are younger. As we both age, for my now husband and I, life is different, he is not as well as he could be, my spirit around Christmas has departed. It is another day in the calendar year. I wrestle with my feelings that I should be happy at Christmas time but I am not. I can boot myself in the a** over many things but in this, I’ve decided to be honest with my own feelings and myself. It is what it is….I’m disappointed in me, but that is the way it is. I need to accept and not feel guilty about feeling otherwise.
So with the Christmas season coming, I try to be happy for other people who enjoy it, for families who are together, when people say have a merry Christmas, I thank them and wish them the same. Still, I’m so very relieved when the season is all over and a new year comes to be. I’m grateful to be still alive to live it. To be alive. If I’m a bit crusty over things, well, that’s the way it is too….I’ll do my best, sometimes it isn’t good enough, but that’s okay too…at least that is what I keep telling myself. Oh well…that’s my life. That’s me.
And how will it be for you?
November 23, 2019 at 4:14 am #96574aFaceOfLossParticipant
I really enjoyed Christmas until our son was grown. Now with all that has happened in last three years – changes in health, retirement, estrangement, death of family members – I find it just a time of sadness. This year I am looking to create a new way of celebrating. Focus on my faith and the simplicity of enjoying what I have. I have a living husband, a roof over my head I am still physically in pretty good health and I am not in debt. That’s a lot to be thankful for and I don’t want to neglect being thankful. Hugs to you and to all going through this. May we each find peace and happiness in our journeys.
November 23, 2019 at 4:15 am #96575GaitedGurlParticipant
Bless your heart!!! You live life on your terms. As long as you are happy to be alive, then that is what counts. I will be relived to when its over also…I need to learn to enjoy my son and my husband. I got excited last year with some regular contact I believe has come to an end. …and I am in despair all over again. Hugs to you my friend!
November 23, 2019 at 4:16 am #96581ZenhumanParticipant
I still get Christmas joy this time of year. Instead of dwelling on my ES, I find joy in my childhood memories because my parents did give me many wonderful memories. I also made many for my Own children, so I like to reminisce and smile at the life I’ve had. I lost my mother around the holidays so I do know the pain it can bring as well, but I just try to focus on the happy. I love colors and lights, so I will string them around a window and just enjoy that too. I do stay away from stores this time of year because I don’t like crowds lol. That’s how it will be for me ☺️
November 23, 2019 at 5:01 pm #96603RainbowParticipant
My dear Aussiemom, I too just get through the holidays. I used to love Christmas with the decorating and all the cooking even though it was hard work I loved it all, having the family over celebrating and all the laughs and smiles. Then life kicks you in the butt and as life happens there are just too many empty chairs. I try my best to put on a smile, but inside me is always an ache. An ache for my loved ones that are gone, my gc who are no longer part of my world and who made Christmas so very special. So for me and my husband, we just try to get through it as best as we can. And after that vile text my gd sent me, I will no longer be sending them gifts. The hurt runs deep and it cuts and tears at my very soul, but I am a strong person and I will get through it and survive. Hugs my friend. Love, Rainbow
November 23, 2019 at 5:02 pm #96605ImovinonParticipant
Aussiemom, Christmas is very hard for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons. At my work, I see so many suicides this time of year. When I first started working for the PD, I was so shocked to learn that it isn’t a happy time for so many people with broken familes and broken hearts and broken dreams and poor health and lonliness and deaths of loved ones. So many people are hurting so bad during the holidays. It used to be something I didn’t understand, until I worked where I do. And now, with estrangement, I understand it even more.
Aussiemom, I love your honesty and how you have found your own peace, in your own way. I am inspired by your words, even though the holidays are hard for you, you say, “I’m grateful to still be alive to live it. To be alive”. They are words to treasure, they are awesome. You are awesome!
I think most everyone on earth will experience at least one hard Christmas season, if not now, then in later years. My Christmas wish for everyone is this: Hang in there, all who are sad. It is only a season and it will pass, as all the seasons do every year.
November 23, 2019 at 5:03 pm #96606AUSSIEMOMParticipant
I think we find a way of coping that works or seems to work for each of us. The deaths I experienced at the age of thirty-four have impacted on my life in ways that simply and abruptly changed what was in our family’s life. I, too, have many wonderful memories and yesterday, I cut cedar, pine and spruce tips to place in three basket arrangements outside, where I can enjoy them all winter. I hope to put a Christmas tree outside again this year, by our sliding glass door in the familyroom where it will stay until April, I hang a bird feeder on it and I feed the squirrels peanuts through the winter. It’s things like this that matter to me, I don’t like the commercialism of Christmas nor the pressure it places on a lot of people who don’t have families to share celebratory times. Growing older does change things. I’m grateful for what I have, but life is very different for me now. And it is still a sensitive time for me. I know for others experiencing estrangement, it’s a very painful time and I hope they come to Sheri’s site for sustenance and support, here we do understand and we know what we’ve experienced and have travelled beyond it.
November 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm #96619FarmgirlParticipant
Christmas is so very bittersweet in my home. Like many here, I gave my 2 ES many great Christmas’ and looked forward to fun Christmas mornings with my gks. That did not happen…….
We have made new traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas, our new normal. I would love to have my ES, DIL and gks here again, but I know that is not possible…….I do feel melancholy on the holidays, but know I did my best to give my boys the best Christmas I could when they were growing up……that I know for sure.
May we all find peace and happiness this Holiday Season and know you are all in my prayers
Hugs from the farm
December 14, 2019 at 9:14 pm #97631TheblueskyParticipant
Hello, Beautiful Aussie Mom. Have been thinking of you and the friends that saw me through my darkest times. I’ve never for a day, have forgotten Sheri , you, and so many here where we talked one another through a seemingly impossible journey.
I am happy to see you continuing to gift your seasoned advice, humor and wit. I cannot say that I am 100% at peace, but as our bodies and hearts march on we have to choose how we disperse our energy.
A Very Merry Christmas to you my friend 🎄
Peace and Love always,
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