Posts tagged Christmas

Goodbye,Helladays

IMG_0374

There are so many good things about the Holiday season. I enjoy meals with family, cook and wrap presents. I take photos and watch the little ones open their gifts with innocence and excitement. I clean up the mess of wrapping paper, just as I did ten years ago. From the outside, nothing appears that different, I suppose. I know I should have a better attitude, but it seems to become more difficult to endure this “happy time” every year, when it isn’t happy for me.

I feel like I spent most of my Christmas this year alone. I managed a “tree cutting with my son and his friends, decorating a different tree-(the first one, a white pine was just too spindly),eating at my Aunts, a family tradition and seeing my grand kids play together on her floor as everyone laughed and gobbled down snacks and a ham dinner. . Still, Christmas Eve alone was miserable. My youngest son that has is still at home has a girlfriend who he is either with or talking to, my husband watches TV and hangs out in the living room. I kept hoping my son would come watch TV with me after his girlfriend went home, but he didn’t. Wasn’t it only a year or two ago that he stayed near me and comforted me as I cried over his brother or helped me down the steps at the Gingerbread House display when I was hurting so bad that it was difficult to walk?

My father passed away in August, between hospital and “rehab” stays, spending the summer with my family and being in hospice twice before I could no longer care for him. It was horrible. He has always been so active and often refused to let us help him. When he began to fall and get hurt, I had no choice but to seek help. We found the nicest nursing home we could-dad’s memory was in and out. Sometimes, he talked and told stories, other times, he was asking how “my mother and I” got him put in that place, even though it has been nearly four years since I lost my mother. When he asked my daughter one day if she thought he would ever be able to go home , she held him and whispered, “I don’t think so-I’m sorry.” Three weeks later he was gone. Not because of what she said, but because he had heard what he already knew was true from his oldest grand daughter and he couldn’t bear it.

It may seem odd, but I have grieved them both this year, as I cleaned out their house. I will never stop grieving the 15 year old who should be 2 now, who collapsed and died while simply playing baseball.

I read the newspaper and see all of the tragedies around the world. Those who have lost family to violence or war, and find myself feeling guilty. I see how many people in my neighborhood live alone or are elderly, their families far away. They look forward to these days as being one of the few times that they see their families, when I see most of my family every week.

One of my daughters had to spend her baby’s first Christmas away from her, because she was too sick with the flu to care for her. Thankfully she is better now. I think it is easy for family to forget that those of us who are not well, depressed, or grieving need joy in our holidays too. My children are busy with their young families or girlfriends. My husband and I don’t have a joyful relationship like we used to. We live here, we talk when we have to. He is healthy, doing what he wants. I am not, and find myself longing for happier times with a loving family and my own little children around me.

Yesterday was my birthday-I got phone calls from my kids and a card from my aunt. That’s all. Today, my son got his drivers license. Although I am glad to see him get the chance to grow up, unlike his older brother, these rites of passage for him, find me looking to even more loneliness and worry.

It seems the more I try to find happiness in these times, the more difficult if becomes. I admit to wiping a few stray tears at the Christmas play when my tall, handsome son played “Joseph” as the rest of the cast were modern day characters with attitudes rather like my own. Of course at the end, my “Joseph” had made them realize the true meaning of Christmas, but, sadly, going home to find myself watching reruns alone quickly dispelled that mood.

I look away, pretending to be distracted, hoping some well-meaning clerk won’t ask if I had a good holiday. I breathe a sigh of relief when she picks the next person in line to share he cheer with. I come home to an empty house and wait on my newly “freed” son to get home. The cat howls in the next room as if she is as sad as I am.

I’m sorry, world, if the holidays aren’t what they used to be. I’m sorry I avoid the cheery clerks and church folks at the play. I’m sorry I went to sleep at my Aunts and woke up crying. To those of you who still can, I wish a happy season. For those who feel like I do, we just wish it was over.

Comments (8) »

Christmas Past

DSCN2231I remember those magical days-

children running in from the bus

to see what new presents

had suddenly appeared under the tree.

I remember the magic of lights-

the “oohs and ahhhs” as the switch came on.

The weeks of “what I want for Christmas”

coming from innocent souls.

Then the chorus of “and that’s all…”

followed by several more favorites.

Yesterday, my babies, my life-

The Joy on their faces, on my face as well.

Today, I lay here alone, a tree with no presents.

Sits in a “living room” no one plays in.

I pick up a sick grandchild from school,

Drive by a graveyard-when one of them lies.

I wonder, today, with life having little meaning,

how those days, when we were so poor,

when those “wants” really did magicially appear.

If it is worth it now, the memories, all I have.

My sick heart pounds, the hot tears roll,

down lonely cheeks as teens tell me

“I won’t be home after school, I have to hurry.”

There are dinner and parties, friends, life.

Please remember, children of today,

that life goes by so fast, that todays’ kids

are tomorrows adults, with kids of their own.

And we, who once were so needed and loved.

Have grown old as my babies grew up.

I put up a tree, as my youngest insisted.

But no joy of a new present  hiding  there today.

Just memories, the awareness of time rushing by…

Like the old Scrooge Tale, it is-

Christmas Past, Present, Future.

I must remember that life moves on, even if

it drags me kicking and screaming.

Comments (9) »

Too Old for Grandpa Santa

The real white beard should help his perfect “Santa Suit”. Adding a little coal dust, he headed to the chimney.

“Oh, Grandpa,” she laughed “Don’t you know I am 12 years old?”

Comments (6) »

A Wonderful Memory of Days Gone By

“That’s my favorite Christmas song!” I said as I looked up at my mother.

She smiled back at me, busily wrapping gifts and checking the stove.

I looked outside, and noticed the dark gray sky, hoping, that soon snow would be coming down onto the mountains around our house. Going to my grandmothers farm for Christmas would not be a problem, because it was only up the hill from my house.

“Mom,” I asked with hope in my blue eyes, “Could I PLEASE open just one of my presents tonight. My friend Sarah’s family does that. It makes Christmas last another day. . Besides, with my birthday right after Christmas, it is the only really special time I have.”

Mom sighed as she removed a pumpkin pie from the oven. “ I like for you to wake up on Christmas morning-very early- (she smiled and brushed her hand through my curly hair) and see you sneaking through the house to find the presents under the tree. “You know that I hear you!”

“But Mom,” I begged, you told me that all your family had was stocking hanging on the end of your parent’s bed, with some fruit and maybe one toy. Things don’t have to always be the same!”

“Oh, alright.” My mother said, as she rushed about. “But just ONE!” she emphasized.

I jumped up, shouting “Oh, thank you, mom, thank you!”

I remember that day-49 years ago. I remember the dress she wore, the tattered apron over it,The tired look on her face, the flour spilled on the table.

Tears fill my eyes as I wonder where time has gone. My own children are grown and have children nearly that old. I lost a child 7 ½ years ago, and I often refer to this time of year as the “Helladays” because they make me miss my young, lively healthy family so much.

I struggle to cook a few snacks for the teen I still have living at home. Where does time go? Why do we loose those people and times we treasure so much? I wiped a tear and turned on the radio as I cooked.

That same song came resounding through the speakers. I was surprised, filled with a mixture of sweet memories and loss.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the years!” the orchestra and singers sang in a rhythm that could have come from that long ago day.

I sneaked into my sons room and handed him a small wrapped gift.

“Whats this, Mom?” he smiled.

“Just a little memory,” I said. Merry Christmas!

He got up from his video game and gave me a hug. “You are the best mom in the world,” he said.

And for a moment, I saw my mom saying the same thing to her. I held back the tears, so he wouldn’t see me cry and walked slowly back to the kitchen.

Perhaps the Christmas spirit was still alive after all.

Comments (3) »

The Barrister’s Ball

The house was gorgeous as the hanson pulled up into the circular drive. The horses were a bit restless in the blowing snow, the driver having to calm them so that Serafina and her soon-to be husband, Dalton emerged.

Serafina’s coats blew wildly around her dresses. Her bonnet barely holding on as Dalton held on to his new black tophat.

“I simply despise these extravagant events!” Serafina complined as the doorman bowed and let them in.

“Oh, Sera,” Dalton sighed, “It is only one night and being invited to a party at Sir Dellingam’s estate is something you simply don’t turn down if you want to be a Barrister in the town!”

Serafina sighed and handed her coat to the doorman, hanging on to her reticule as Dalton shook out his coat and handed it in as well.

They we motioned to a room glistening with the light of candles and lamps, a roaring fire warming the room a little too much. Several servants scuttled by with trays, offering drinks and cucumber sandwiches, tarts, and even a tray of chocolates.

Dalton noticed an associate from his firm across the room and lead Serafina toward him.

“Ah, Raymond!” Dalton said with a smile and slight bow, “May I present my future wife, Serafina?”

“ Very nice to meet you, my lady,” Raymond smiled and turned to his left. “This is my wife Abigail. I am sure you will become good friends in the years to come.”

After a few minutes of conversation and more that a proper amount of delicacies from the trays, Dalton whispered to Serafina, “Come, I have something to show you!”

With a look of suspense in her sparkling blue eyes, Serafina followed Dalton down a hall and through a door behind a stairwell. There they found themselves in a small library, with doors leading out outo a terrace.

Dalton, opened the door as the wind swept over them, immediately bringing her warm coat to Serafna’s mind.

“Where are we? She inquired.

With a sparkle in his eye he smiled, “A place quite alone within a crowed house.”

“How did you…” she started to say, but found her mouth sealed with those of her fiance’.

“Oh, my!” she smiled as she shivered a bit, both from the kiss and the cold of the wind.

“See, I told you such parties were not so terrible!” he laughed as he opened the door and hustled her back inside.

Sarafina shook the snow off of her hair, hoping the pins were not too far out of place from the wind and the stolen affection. She fluffed it a big and curled her arm through his as they returned down the hall to the party.

Suddenly, the fire seemed particularly attractive as they walked together and stood in front of it, their hands touching behind them as they warmed themselves.

“Maybe being the wife of a Barrister would not be so boring after all,” Serafina thought as she helped herself to another tart from the pro-offered silver platter.

Comments (5) »

Invincible

It would probably be grandma’s last Christmas. Seeing the lights around town had always been so special to her, but her health wouldn’t allow the tour this year. Sue was only 12 years old, but as she told her dad about her plan, he fought a tear and smiled. For a week, while grandma slept, they strung lights, Early mornings, after dark, they worked.

On Christmas Eve, Sues dad bundled grandma up and rolled her out on the side-walk. “Where are we going?” she asked. Sue saw dad’s signal to turn on the lights. The whole neighborhood light up.

Comments (2) »

In the days of long Ago

One day, we gather around the fire,
Eat and sip warm drinks
in thanks for all we have.

The next day, as if to purge ourselves
of any of  the warmth of hearth and home.
We awake before dawn.

We rush into the lines of traffic,
the masses of souls pushing  each other.
Complain and wait to stroke our credit cards.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah!
The bells and the red kettles beside
smiling, shivering volunteers.

I miss the days my grandma remembered.
Hunting a tree in the pasture,
A stocking with fruit and candy,

Eight candles in the night.
Thinking of why we have so much.
Hoping our children remember that one day.

Comments (7) »