On the days I go to work I pass the women’s shelter. This is the place women and their children go who have fled an abusive home, and some are fleeing for their lives. Once in a while I see a few of them and first of all thank the dear Lord that I am not one of them, and secondly wonder what will happen to them. It’s the holidays. Thanksgiving to be exact, which is the official kickoff to that part of the year that we either love or hate with a passion. There is different reasons for either feeling, but there is no gray area on this you either hate it or love it. Do they have other families to go to or will they just stay there and be with each other?
Those that love it are the ones who have family around them, they can decorate, buy presents and food and the world is their oyster so to speak. I was part of that group at one time. My mom used to do up Thanksgiving and Christmas like you see in Currier & Ives prints. Lots of food, lots of presents, and all very traditional. We opened our presents on Christmas morning!!! I didn’t know that you could do it any other time until I got away from home and observed other people’s traditions. For many years we had a picture taken of the four of us and had it made into our Christmas card just to show what a happy little family we were.
Those that hate it…..are alone. Maybe they are divorced, maybe there are no children, maybe they are the only one left in the family still living. Maybe their family is all in other cities too far away or maybe their families have forgotten about them because they are caught up in their own lives and they don’t think you would want to join them anyway. There are all kinds of reasons you could be alone at the holidays. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one due to death I would invite you to check out TomZuba.com. He is a friend who so poignantly and compassionately talks about surviving the holidays while grieving and mourning the loss of a loved one. Believe me, if anyone would know how to do it, he would and I will let him tell you.I am going to talk about being alone for any other reason.
Since my mom and dad died in 1999 and 2002 respectively, I have been alone at the holidays. It wasn’t so bad at first, but I am here to tell you, ten years later I hate it. Every year I put up a beautiful tree and I don’t cook a lot but I do cook some of our families traditions like scalloped oysters and homemade Chex Party mix…..I make 5 gallons of it!!!
This year I thought things were going to be different because there is a man in my life however he is with his company out on the east coast doing the cleanup and restoration from hurricane Sandy. But to come home for just a day or two…I do understand and yes we can celebrate anytime we want. It could be worse – he could be fighting in Afghanistan. Yes God I am truly grateful he is not of military age. For those families I pray for peace and their safety.
At first I was feeling really sorry for myself and then I decided it could be worse. I am thinking about that Christmas right after mom died. That was horrible, the worst! I moved from my bed to the sofa. Dad and I just had sandwiches . We didn’t answer the door or talk on the phone. Neither one of us wanted to deal with anyone. At least I am not having to go through something like that again. Okay Gloriann pull up your big girl jeans and take a deep breath. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the tree is going up. I am going to cook some ham, scalloped oysters (did you doubt that?) and my caramel apple pie. At some point during my four days off from work, I am going to take Bella (my yorkie) visit my hospice patients and hopefully bring them either a little joy or a little peace. That will bring me a little joy and a little peace. Christmas will be the same and that is fine. I am NOT looking or wanting an invitation. I want to be by myself. I will be blogging and watching old Christmas movies and waiting for that man of mine to call. Yes I will go see my hospice patients also.
I have found that holiday cheer is what you do or make of it on your own. You can’t expect others to supply your cheer for you. It comes from way deep down, inside you. Yes I will have cheer. It probably won’t be like yours if you have family with you, but it will be mine and Bellas. If you can’t find something to laugh about and be cheery about with Bella around….then you do have a problem. Until next time…..Happy Thanksgiving from Bella and me.