A couple of days after Christmas I stumbled across a jpeg that I wish I had found before Christmas. I really struggled with Christmas this year - especially in the "putting seasons greetings out there" department!
|My own version - not too Christmasy.|
Why did I struggle? I can tell you that, aside from missing family, it wasn't so much a personal struggle.
It was a struggle for the friends that have lost someone during this last year & there seemed to be so many of them. From the one whose son left this world on Christmas day last year - to the one whose son left in April, the dear friend whose Mum died, an ocean away, a few days before Christmas, the one who buried her husband 2 days before Christmas & the one whose husband passed on Christmas Eve. Then there is the one who is being nursed through the final stages of pancreatic cancer, by her daughter, along with the lovely lady I have just met that has had to admit her Mum to a dementia facility.
Some of these people I have met & consider friends, others I have known for years online - exchanged cards, beads & emails with & I consider them friends too.
The thing is it's academic as to whether I know them in reality - or not. I don't need to have sat down with them in person to know that the first Christmas without someone who once was a part of you & your life is just bloody awful - or that a death anywhere near Christmas is always going to become an inextricable part of the whole Christmas thing from that day on.
I don't need to have sat down with them to know that often those trite comments, although well intentioned, sometimes just don't help - or seeing another make a comparison to a loss they have suffered is sometimes a bit meaningless because it isn't their loss. Trying to find the right thing to say, while acknowledging that their grief is immense & overwhelming, yet completely unique to them & not comparable to anyone else's grief, is difficult.
Amidst all the celebrity deaths this Christmas Season I felt most for the people I know. While a celebrity will impact our life to some degree & we will mourn their loss, it doesn't actually change our life the way losing a loved one does.
There is not that sudden shift in our psyche that tells us in no uncertain terms that life, as we knew it up until that moment, has just changed never to be life as we knew it again.
I do know that it gets better - no, that is not the right word. I do know that it gets less intense as time wears on - but I also know that in those first few months it sure as hell doesn't feel like it is going to.
I also know that the last thing you feel is as if Christmas is Merry - or even worth celebrating, & that the New Year that is unavoidably rushing towards you is scary. On the one hand it can't be as bad as the current one because the worst thing imaginable has already happened - on the other hand it can't possibly be happy because you have lost a part of yourself.
One day, in the future Christmas won't seem quite as bleak for these friends as it does now. The happiness will start to sneak back in - but will always be tinged with a little sadness, & a longing for what once was, at this time of year.
With that in mind, & rather than being too seasonally specific, I thought that the greeting
"Merry Everything and Happy Always" was rather fitting for the long term, on multiple levels.