Not So Very Merry
It is December, and it seems like everywhere I look, I see a hole shaped like my mother.
It blurs my vision, and with it a hard bitter ache I can’t seem to swallow.
I thought that with time, loss would grow more gentle, less acute. That years would wear down sharp edges like a pebble in the sand.
I was wrong. It does not ease or dull as time passes. I think I’ve simply grow more able to bear it’s crushing weight. The pain of her loss is just as vivid today as the day she died. When I let down my guard, I can hardly breathe.
This has been an especially hard week. Her birthday, then Thanksgiving — a holiday she loved because it coincided with her birthday— and now I’m supposed to be all merry and jolly and full of good cheer, but I’m not. I looked back at what I’ve written over the years and find that this has become a predictable lyric in my writing each year.
It’s hard not to think about what might have been. How she’d be a part of our lives.
Alina, a gifted author and friend of mine, once wrote about the loss of her father. Like standing on the sidewalk in the snow, looking into a beautiful, joy-filled room but we’re not allowed inside. We only get to watch. To dream, but never actually experience what life would have been like had our parent lived.
She writes in Christmas From the Outside:
Christmas celebrations, at least in America, are glazed with fuzzy feelings. Lights deck out dark windows, sugary drinks abound at Starbucks, songs about cherubs and snuggling and pumpkin pie flood the radio. Even most Christian carols are exclusively about Joy to the World and Peace on Earth at this time of year, sweeping the rest under the rug ‘til January. But that glitzy window display of sentimentalism divides people. Either you’re rockin’ around the Christmas tree, or you’re fogging the glass from the outside, wondering why you can’t hear the music.
I’ll drift a bit, treading water, getting by, coping with the checklist before eventually finding my fix once again.
But I’m not there yet. Today is for remembering and allowing myself to ache awhile, to ache for what could have been. What one day will be again.
And because we’re not going to wallow too deeply, here’s a clip from one of my favoritest movies, which speaks to precisely the way we, the ones who are left behind, are feeling at this moment.