Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow

I miss the Christmases of my childhood. Since moving to Minnesota, I have not been to a single Christmas Eve service. Something has come up every single year and I haven’t gone. I’ve spend them with friend’s families every year. But oh… sometimes I miss the traditions of childhood.

I miss my childhood tree ornaments. I miss eating a shrimp ring on Christmas Eve. I miss my grandfather heckling me on Christmas Day. I miss playing with my new toys on Christmas morning.

It’s hard, I guess, and a part of growing up.

One December, bright and clear

For the longest time, the month of December has sucked. It’s always been a hard month. Various things have happened in December over the past 6 years, and it’s just an incredibly difficult month. I last saw my father that December morning, 6 years ago (I moved out on October 31, but I last saw him in December). 5 years ago, I was in the psych ward over December. Various things happened over the years, and December just seems to be the month when the shit always hits the fan.

Christmas holds a lot of painful memories. And it’s hard to have a “good” Christmas in spite of all that, in spite of all the pain and anger that also happens over the holiday season.

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
let your heart be light,
next year all our troubles will be far away…

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
make the Yulitude gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again, as in golden days,
happy golden days of old
Faithful friends that are dear to us,
Will be dear to us once more

Some day soon, we all will be together
If the fates allow,
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

I know that Christmas will always be difficult. I know that I won’t be spending it with my biological family, and, well, that sucks. There’s no sugar-coated, candy-frosted way to say it, it sucks. But until the day when I’m able to accept things, until the day where I spread my wings and fly, I can allow myself to have a “Merry Little Christmas” until then.

Every lament is a love song

My dad’s dad died in 1975.
My Grandma Dixie (dad’s mom) died when I was eight.
My Pawpaw (Mom’s dad) died when I was nineteen.
My Mawmaw (Mom’s mom) died when I was twenty-three.
There was my great uncle, my great aunt, etc, etc, you get the picture. I’ve been to more funerals than weddings in my lifetime.

I’ve had various friends die over the years. Most were ones I used to be close to but then fell out of touch with. One I used to be close to, then we had a fight and never made up. Others, I just got busy and selfish with life and we just didn’t talk anymore. And it sucks. I have various memorials set up in my room to various people: a stuffed pee cup for Nick (LONG STORY), the teddy bears Rachel sent me long ago, my grandpa’s beanie baby lady bug, the list goes on.

Hell, I just don’t grieve well, I don’t think. I stuff and I stuff and I stuff and I stuff. My puppy (Pirate wasn’t even a year old when he died) died 10 years ago and I still haven’t fully processed it.) But my biggest fear is that I am going to die young. I’m plagued by health problems. What if I die young? What if I leave friends behind asking the same questions I am asking now? What if it isn’t my health that takes me, but a car accident? Something else? Will I leave behind a legacy?

I just can’t help but wonder these things. I’m terrified of dying.

Mrs. Tanner: Sweetie, I’m seventy-four years old, I’m ready to go.
J.D.: Yeah, but with dialysis, you could live another…eighty or ninety years.
Mrs. Tanner: I think you’re being a little irrational.
J.D.: No I’m not.
Mrs. Tanner: Everybody dies sometime.
J.D.: No they don’t.

***

Dr. Cox: (In mock crying voice) But what about our duty as doctors? (Back to normal voice) Look. This is not about Mrs. Tanner’s dialysis, this is about you. You’re scared of death, and you can’t be; you’re in medicine for chrissakes. Sooner or later, you’re going to realize that everything we do around here, everything is a stall. We’re just trying to keep the game going, that’s all. But, ultimately, it always ends up the same way.

***

I’m terrified of death, which is odd considering I was hospitalized in 2006 due to being suicidal and in a crisis home for the same reason in 2009. But I’m terrified of death. It scares me senseless. and that’s just… I don’t even know. I’m out of words to describe how it makes me feel. But I know that my health is falling apart. I know I’m not a healthy 24 year old.

And it breaks my heart that one day, likely while I’m still young, my friends will be wrestling with the same gut-wrenching questions that I wrestle with.

Every lament is a love song,
yesterday, yesterday,
I still can’t believe you’re gone…

If only in my dreams

I’m dreaming tonight of a place that I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you
I’ll be home for Christmas,
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas eve will find me,
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
Listen to Josh Groban sing I’ll Be Home for Christmas!

I know I’m not in a war zone. I know I have a place to go for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. But it doesn’t replace the ache that lives in my heart. It doesn’t replace the loneliness. And I miss the Christmases of my childhood which will never exist again, because both my grandparents are dead. Mawmaw will have been gone one year come Thursday, Paw’s been gone for five years now. Christmas just hasn’t been the same since Christmas 2005 – my first one without a father and my last one with my Paw.

I don’t remember many Christmases before the divorce. They split the summer between first and second grade. I remember getting my tape (as in cassette, yo. Old skool!) deck for a present one year and headphones with it, only to discover it had a microphone jack, not a tape deck.

After the split, it was pretty simple. I’d spend Christmas Eve with my father, then he’d drop me off at the grandparent’s for Christmas day, and then I’d go to my mom’s for the evening. Some may call it chaotic, but it was what I was used to and all I really knew. And there’d be fun stocking stuffers and good food and presents and FAMILY. But all that is but a distant memory. I don’t have it anymore.

I spent Christmas 2006 and New Years 2007 in the Psych Ward. To put it simply, it sucked. Don’t ask me what happened on Christmas 2007. I think we went to Maw’s after everyone else had left and spent the rest of the day in the new apartment. ’08, ’09, and ’10 I’ve spent with friends, and will again for ’11. Don’t get me wrong – I am blessed and grateful to have friends who open up their hearts and home and treat me as one of the family. It’s a blessing beyond measure.

But it doesn’t heal the ache.
And I’m still homesick for something that doesn’t even exist anymore, and I’m not sure every truly did exist.