Friday, December 15, 2006


I came across two people today who during the holidays just aren’t happy. One was the nurse at my doctors’ office. She actually came into my room and began weeping with dread at the family dinners she would be attending. Feeling the way I do about the whole affair, I was finding it difficult to encourage her at all. I finally told her to make her own traditions and stay away from people who make you ‘unhealthy’ and gave her a hug and reminded her it was okay to feel the way she was feeling.

Then my doctor came in the room and slouched down in his chair and propped his knees up and said “well are you ready for Christmas?” When I said I couldn’t seem to get into it this year, he poured his guts out too. They all say the same things to me. How it is just to frenzied, how the very essence seems to have disappeared. How family’s who are not close try to get together during the holidays and have their get-togethers and buy presents for all the kids that they don’t know well enough to know what they might enjoy receiving and put on their happy faces and then go their separate ways until next year rolls around so they can do the whole pretense again.

For me, Christmas is seeing other people smiling and appearing to be so happy and peaceful and shopping with such joy in their hearts. I hear them talking about their big plans to get together with mom and dad and all the siblings along with their kids for a big meal.

My reality is I live with severe depression that has not lifted in several months now. I am so tired I can’t seem to put my happy face on too much – heck I can’t even find where I left it half the time.

I have no desire to go spend a Saturday right before Christmas with a bunch of strangers only because they are related to me by blood. Some of them were not so very nice to me when I was a little kid and as I have gotten older, I just feel I am “healthier” when I don’t go around them. Mainly I am speaking of my parents.

I write them letters about once a month, but being with them just causes me all this tension and I wind up either with a migraine or with my stomach all torn up. My one sister, 10 years older than me, has never wanted anything to do with me. I finally gave up on trying to forces us into a relationship several years ago. But we’ll go to the parties and they will go through the motions and we will go though the motions and then we’ll go home and not see nor hear from them again until next Christmas.

Christmas is especially tough for me because I miss my son. He has not spoken to me since 1999 when I left his daddy. He has two babies who will never know they have a grandma who loves them. Christmas and all the smiling happy people just drive that point home to me with a double edged sword during the holidays.

I’m going tomorrow to shop for gifts for them. I won’t see the kids but I usually leave their gifts at my daughters and they pick them up there. They never call and say they enjoyed it or thank you or anything like that. I have no clue what to get them. I don’t know what they are into or what sizes they wear or what they need.

Tomorrow is the last day I can put off doing my shopping for the little family thing at my daughters. If you look closely in the stores tomorrow, I'll be the ony wearing ear plugs to block the holiday music.

I just bet Jesus is not happy with how his special day turns out.

1 comment:

Artemis said...

I wonder how many of us "put on a happy face" for this time of year -- but really don't feel a whole lot differently than you do on the inside. Stress is highest at this time of year, in part because we feel that if we aren't happy, there's something wrong with us. Family problems abound for too many of us -- and just because it's Christmas doesn't make those issues dissapear.

What's wrong with "skipping Christmas" (thanks, Mr. Grisham), if that's what you need for emotional health? Send your son a nice note, get the kids a gift card to a toy or book store (don't beat yourself up getting them something that you won't ever know if they used or wore), keep reiterating your desire to see them *eventually*!

And remember Linus' advice to all of us: "For unto you is born this day a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord"...because that's what Christmas is all about.