Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Lost

I don't know why this was never posted. I wrote it five days before the holiday. Maybe I thought it was too depressing. That's never been a problem for me. Maybe I didn't want to be a whiner this year. Or maybe I didn't care even about this. But whatever, I'm not trashing it. So, months later, here it is in all is dark glory.

I looked around my house today and realized there wasn't a single sign of Christmas. Nothing. Not one decoration, no tree, no garlands, no lights. Not a sign that there is a holiday anywhere in sight, unless you count the wrapping paper from last year in the closet or the Christmas cards on the back of my front door from the family and the four or five actual friends. I hadn't realized that was a tradition until Sarah mentioned it the other night. "Mawmaw, you have your cards up on the door. You do that every year." She's only seven and for her, they've always been there. There are fewer cards each year. I can remember when it was covered top to bottom. I doubt she'll notice they are fewer since Jerry died. Haven't quite got a reasonable explanation so it is probably good they just are tapering off.

I have scads of Christmas music and considered putting it on the other night but decided on something with no holiday theme. I haven't made one trip to the store to shop. I haven't bought one gift for anyone but Sarah and I told Mike what to get and it is in my trunk. I'll send him for gift cards or get them myself this weekend. David won't be home for Christmas and I'll have to get their's then.

Yes, I know it is five days until Christmas. I really don't care. Each year I've delayed putting up anything until the day before. Last year I decorated on Dec 24th and took it down a day or so later. This year, I suspect, I won't do it at all. I considered buying a new tree but it'd be a waste of money. Mine is 25 years old. Everyone says I should toss it. I figure it will last as long as I do and then they can do what they like.

It is supposed to be a season of joy and celebration. I'll be glad to have my son home for Saturday and Sunday.  Sarah will leave for three weeks to be with him. So, Christmas Day I will get up at some point in the day and spend it sitting in a chair staring out the front window at a warm, sunny day or an overcast cold one. I'll do it alone. I have no desire to cook a holiday meal for one. I'll buy myself something just so I can answer the questions people ask when you come back to work. I've been trying to figure out what to buy. I bought tires for my car so could just go with that. That's hard because the things I want are impossible to obtain.

I remember decorating the tree with Mama when I was Sarah's age. I remember how much fun it was and how exciting to see presents from people and to open them. I remember how the stores smelled wonderful and since we had a live tree, the house did, too. The only people who ever bought me presents was my aunt and uncle and my sister. Jerry always waited until the 24th then ran out to try and find a gift and couldn't. So I usually ended up with gloves, a robe, or a gift card if any thing. No, he didn't buy me gifts, or rarely, not even birthday gifts. Really. I finally started buying my own and putting them under the tree. I remember how disappointed I was when I realized he wasn't going to be that person. Anyway, I feel none of that and wonder if something is wrong. I don't think so. I think I've reached a place where there isn't much to celebrate. Every day is pretty much like the one before, determined by pain levels. If they're fairly low, I can function and actually do something, like laundry or cleaning the bathroom. I might get the last two weeks laundry put away while I wash this week's. If they're not, I have to figure out how to get through one more night and hope that tomorrow it hurts less.

And then there is this sense of vacancy. There is this huge, yawning, black hole that appears on the horizon in November. No light escapes it and everything is sucked into it. NaNo keeps it at bay but ultimately, in December it begins its ascent. It will reach zenith sometime around January 29 and begin to slid into the abyss by the end of February. The days will be long and blacker than the backside of hell.


  1. I hope that you are in a better place now. You know, maybe this year you should come and have yourself an English Christmas with us.

    1. You know, that sounds lovely. I would like to think it could be done. Money is tighter than ever and I'm skimping on some things to save. I'll have to see how it looks by the end of summer. I do want to do that some time before I can't do it.

  2. Cynthia, I am very surprised that you don't spend the holiday with someone at your church. What did Mike do? Was he with you too?

    If you lived a little closer you could have spent the quiet Christmas with our family. I love the idea of you going to England--that sounds like such fun.

    1. I get these questions about my church frequently. I should forward them to someone. They're interesting questions that I can't answer. No one has ever suggested such a thing. I'd be speechless if they did. Remember, widows are not generally welcome anywhere.

      Mike lives across town. This was 5 days before the actual holiday. My sister works crazy hours. I think we did finally go to her house and she fixed a meal for me, Mike, Becca, Sarah and herself. We spent a few hours together and I came home. I never did decorate.