Winter blues are in place again. The hubbub of the holidays make for a great distraction and can leave one with little time to stop and reflect. I mean, you can stop if you want to, but the pain rides in on a black stallion and brings you to your knees. Most people wax nostalgia during the holidays, if they have good memories of days gone by. Personally, I think back on fond memories of my own childhood and all of the magical parts of Christmas. I then think of having my own children and the many Christmas mornings I watched them light up with wonder, with their high pitched squeals of excitement as they came downstairs to see what Santa had left them under the tree. The moments when we finally got to see Eryn and Jesse and the six of us were together at last to celebrate our Christmas as a family. Later on we added our daughter-in-law and son-in-law and years of baby and toddler Christmases with four grandchildren as the next generation added to the pleasure and excitement of the holidays. I could go on and on about the happy times of Christmas in my life. I could tell you about the sad Christmases too, like after my father died and how difficult it was for my mother and our family for so many years. But, with it all, I have been blessed. This I know and am eternally grateful for. The holidays are a mixed bag of emotions and there has always been a bit of sadness during the season. Sadness for those we love and have lost along the way and also for the realization that as we age, the holidays can also present confusion, stress, disappointment and hopeful anticipation of something magical we want to hold onto but can no longer grasp. It keeps pulling away from us. Waxing nostalgia makes for a wistful lens from which to view the past. Not having your partner makes it feel lonely, even when all you love surround you.
During my adulthood, the best Christmases I experienced were always with Paul by my side. He was part of every bit of that happiness. In fact, the first time I said “I love you” to him was on a late night Christmas Eve in 1985. We were leaving a party at a mutual friends house and were in the middle of their quiet street. The air was cold and snow was falling under a nearby streetlight. The colored lights from the surrounding houses set the perfect romantic scene. After professing my love to him I cried with both relief and happiness, wrapping up in his guiding embrace knowing I was finally home. This year, that scene plays over and over and over in my head as part of the holiday slideshow that is Christmas for me now. Snapshots of Christmases with Paul and our family spin through my mind leaving me happy while breaking my heart.
Our family had a wonderful Christmas this year, enhanced by three new furry, wiggly, adorable puppies to add to the fray. We spent a week together playing, cooking, eating, laughing, singing, dancing and spending time together. Paul was there… but he wasn’t. There was a full moon one of the days and on the next morning, our yard was filled with birds of all kinds, including six or eight bluebirds, mourning doves, three male brilliantly red cardinals, sparrows, chicadees and more. It was unbelievable…a huge bird party was taking place in our yard. Being the family “bird nerd” I found myself so excited that I nearly called out to Paul to come look, actually turning my head as if he was in the room…then realizing he wasn’t there. It stopped me in my tracks. These small yet exciting moments I can no longer share with my person. He would have loved seeing the array of winged creatures we so loved to sit on the porch and watch together. A simple thing, but it gave us both such pleasure.
As Christmas and New Years’ celebrating came to a close, the quiet came back with its early morning stillness, giving me a lot of time to think. Then, as if losing Paul again, it hit me hard…and brought me to my knees yet again. The tears I’ve shed in the past few weeks had been still for awhile. I thought I had a grasp on it. In the last few days, I have been derailed yet again. I so much want to heal and be whole. I don’t like this Lynne. She is not happy and doesn’t want to be here anymore. I fight her off every day.
It doesn’t help that there have been more losses. I have found that someone I loved and have “known” for a long time is not the person I thought they were. This is a big hurt. It bothers me every day and I am truly grieving this loss, yet I feel used and am not sure I want to pursue the relationship any longer. I see both sides to the story and have apologized for my side, but I believe the other person does not. I am grieving for this loss and it adds to my depression. I think about it every day but need to let it go for my survival.
Another person I care about has lost someone they love this week and I know that what this person is going through I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Grief is mind bending and visceral. I want to go to her and hug her to let her know she is not alone, even knowing that my gesture will not cure her devastation. Still, I want her to know she has an ally. I want to lift her up, knowing it may be futile. It breaks my heart.
I am working through all of this on my own and trying to remain as positive as I can. I write, I paint, I walk the dogs, I cook, I go through the day trying to build a staircase up to the sun. I’m truly tired and I am feeling real pain, but still I continue the climb. Like Sisyphus, I will push that damn rock up the hill and someday maybe, maybe…I will make it to the top. If I do, I will take all of those that I love with me to see the view. It must be spectacular if it takes this much work to get there.