Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grief: A Holiday Medley: Part Two Chanukah/Christmas Eve

As someone else said, Oy to the world.  We have been living in baby land and I was kind of centered there until this morning.  The holiday season woke me up with this terrible feeling of aloneness.  It feels a little better now that I am writing to you.  When Artie died holidays and birthdays and anniversaries went from something to celebrate to something to be gotten through.  How do I change them back?  Not sure.  Not this morning.

This year with a newborn it doesn't matter what we do.  We are sleepy and the presents range from my bringing Charmin toilet paper to the hospital because that is Erin's favorite brand to a small diamond G from Tiffany's - G for granddaughter Gwendolyn - that Erin can wear.  We are too tired for a menorah, for a tree.  I don't have to decide between celebrating and not celebrating this year.

Next year Gwendolyn will be more aware.  Can Granny bring it?  Probably.

What a mess holidays are.  So much pressure to be happy.  So much sadness when family members have died.  Can we roll our memories backwards so that the picture of them being with us during previous holidays can change our sadness to joy? Can we see ourselves through their eyes so we are filled with love and can celebrate the way they would want us to? Can we use whatever our holiday tradition is as an occasion to honor their memory with our laughter and love?

For me, I think it will always be learning to ride the wave.  Being present with the sadness at the loss.  Like a little kid I stamp my feet and say, "I want - I want - I want."  I want my love note.  I want my husband's hand to hold.  I even want to yell at him to stop watching football and pay attention to me!  Later, though my challenge is to be present to celebrate what is still here.  To be with my daughter and granddaughter and friends with a full heart.  To make a space in time and in my days and nights for turning inward and missing my one true love  and then make a space in time and in my days for turning outward and appreciating all I am given.

What am I grateful for?  My new granddaughter, the strength of my daughter who has come so far, that for so many years I had Artie holding my hand, my heart, that I am not hungry or homeless, for my friends and the way we hold each other up when we fall.  Maybe that's the core of it.  I'm grateful for continuing to show up with all my wonder and all my craziness.  I'm not grateful for lessons learned because my husband died - I would much rather NOT have to learn those particular lessons - but I am grateful for the community of grief warriors who continue to inspire me with their bravery and kindness.

Help someone else.  That's a 365 day a year kind of thing.  i must remember that if I do something for someone else I forget to wallow in pity for me.  I didn't do anything special this year - but there's nothing saying it's only at Christmas I can find something to do for someone else - especially at a time when the economy has thrown so many into need.

Happy, merry, ho ho ho.  I hope that Santa Claus comes down your chimney tonight and brings you (no matter whether you believe in him or not) packages full of little joys that jump up and surprise you when you least expect them.  xo

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