Beagle is writing a series entitled “WIHTH”, aka, “why I hate the holidays”. In her latest post, she wrote:
I know I am too consumed with the losses right now to focus on the blessings. The blessings do exist. I’m just not sure how Thankful I can be one week from today. Maybe it’s enough to just be present and save the thanks for next year.
I started this as a comment, but it started to grow out of control, so here are my own feelings on the holiday season.
To start off, I AM a holiday-loving kind of girl. The period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve is my hands-down favorite time of the year. Growing up, it was a period of anticipation, family dinners, the smell of smoke from the fireplace, and curling up in a pile of quilts to keep warm in bed. I love the feel of a crisp fall evening, bundled up in a coat and gloves to keep warm. I love watching the leaves turn gold and burnt orange and crimson and how they glow in the light from sunset. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner, cleaning my house, pouring wine and watching movies all piled up on the sofa together. I love buying presents for my family and friends, thinking of how much fun they’ll have with their gifts. I love wrapping presents and watching the pile under the tree grow larger and larger until it spills out from under the branches. I love Christmas morning and having a pile of chocolate for First Breakfast with Manly, followed by a full Second Breakfast that he cooks for the family. I love snuggling in with my littlest SIL on the sofa at her parents and watching Kevin Smith movies all afternoon.
But despite all that love, all the joy I feel during this time of the year, it also evokes a wistful sadness with me. At least one night during the season, I will sit down in the dining room floor and watch the lights twinkle on the tree. I’ll turn on my sad music, and I’ll cry for all the people I love who are no longer with us — my godmother, my grandmother, my uncle who was in a motorcycle accident on Christmas Eve two years ago, my great-aunt who passed last Friday. I’ll cry because I might never have children to share my future holiday seasons with. I’ll cry for my own pain and suffering during the last year. I’ll cry because you can’t have one without the other, love and hope without sadness and loss. The holiday season is a time for celebrating the life that we live and also those lives that have passed into memory. It is as much a season of remembrance as it is a season of thankfulness.
It is very much enough to just be present during this time. To take life each day as it comes, acknowledging the beauty and abundance in our lives while knowing that beauty and abundance are not the only states that exist. At the end of December, all that will have passed are days marked on the calendar. If those particular dates cause you pain, accept that, embrace it, and move forward as best you can. There will be other days when the happiness and joy you seek will find you; celebrate then, when you truly feel thankful rather than try to force an emotion that does not fit. That’s all any of us should expect of ourselves — to find our own balance, to find our own peace with this life.
Much love my dear, and I will be thinking of you.