Saturday, December 12, 2015

What if Merry Christmas does not feel 'merry'?

Tis the season.


What an incredibly joyous season this is, with its festive music, the beautifully decorated houses. Watching the faces of people smiling while shopping that wander and enjoy the sparkling colourful stores and malls. Everyone is loaded down with overstuffed bags full of presents. Presents nicely wrapped, and more than likely only to be ripped open on Christmas morning, tossed aside and moved on quickly to the next present.

Wow, there seems to be a bit of that not being merry and down-right bitterness coming through in that last sentence.  I must apologize. That is so unlike me. I love Christmas.

Sadly this year I find myself in a different state, along with many others. A club, I honestly had heard about, and had seen but had never intended to join. Members, consisting of those I know and those who I do not know, each struggling to get through the joyous happy season as quickly as they can. All, hoping to head to a New Year full of hope and possibilities. 
That sounds so melodramatic, now that I read it here in black and white. There are those like me who try to smile and laugh, as not to ruin the Christmas season for the other people. People, who rightly so, are so happy to be celebrating a joyous, merry wonderful season that is supposed to be all about love, of family, and full of happiness.


There have been a few special loved ones who left us this year, and my watching some really difficult struggles for those who I love. This seems to have crushed my feelings. To celebrate the season of love, joy and family suddenly seemed like a daunting task and nothing more. The loss of my Mom, the person who loved Christmas and family time more than anyone else that I have ever known, has had a profound effect on my family and me. We are all struggling to make it feel right, but it is like there is an ‘elephant in the room’ creating sadness for all. Mom would not want that.

I had the pleasure of spending a day with a lovely young woman and her Mom where we visited my best friend BA, who I have loved since we were five. On the drive back home the conversation came up about Christmas trees. I informed them I was not putting one up this year. The lovely young woman had only one question “Why”?  That was when I went into my spiel. It was too much work, and no one would see it. I went on, about missing my Mom, Dad, brother aunt, my long distance daughters and a new granddaughter. I continued on, as she listened and no doubt wondered when I would stop. I explained that there would be nothing under it anyway. The post office would be the ones to handle Christmas in a box to be sent before the big day. I finished with the line “I honestly just do not have the energy or desire to do it”. Her short reply to all that whining “Doesn’t your Hero deserve a tree?” Wow, she was right. Just because I may not feel the Christmas spirit, I had completely disregarded the feelings of the person who was going through the exact same thing as me, a person who means everything to me.



Excuses were all I had. Sure, all my feelings of loneliness and loss are very real and justified, but how dare I project my feelings on to others. Others, who were handling the same situation but may need a very different way to handle their feelings, this woman was very wise for her years.
When I did get home that evening I asked My Hero. Would you like a Christmas tree? He answered “Only a small one”. I did not go into my whiny spiel. I knew I had to think about this one. Could I do it?

Saturday morning My Hero headed to an auction and I dragged out a little artificial tree. I could not bring myself to do our tree the traditional way. I have to admit, that a funny thing happened, I could not find my box of lights and decorations. I decided I was going to make it a memory tree not only a Christmas tree. A memory tree for all the ones we had lost and were missing and the ones we wished were here but will not be here. I found little things that reminded me of every one of those we love.


Not your traditional tree, but I think this will help both of us this year. Honestly, why would  you not want a bowling pin prize for high score of your Mom’s or a whistle to keep you safe in the bush from your Dad hanging on the tree? I did find my carved Santa’s our girls always loved them. Two hawk feathers rounded it out, special found gifts with meaning. I am so glad I did this, it feels right. The tree has brought a change in my attitude, it makes me smile and remember. I feel this need to go bake some cookies right now, and I promised My Hero some Christmas cake, it may be late, but it will get done. Mom would expect no less of her children during her favourite time of year.

I know there are many of you struggling this year. There are also many of you who are going about their normal happy Christmas traditions. My wish for all of us is that we remember others. It is the season of LOVE, joy and family.



Crack a smile at everyone you meet. Pick up the phone. It may very well be just what was needed. Merry Christmas.

Later


38 comments:

  1. The happiest time of year is hard for so many people.
    I volunteer on a crisis line and it is one of our busiest, and saddest times.
    I love your memory tree - and my pinch/borrow the idea for us here.
    Thank you so much.
    Love and laughter to you and yours.

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  2. What EC said; this is a brilliant idea Buttons and one I think I'll be borrowing. *hugs*

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  3. I find healing in giving this year. I also seem to be able to move forward with the flow of life. This doesn't mean that I don't miss Errol and it doesn't mean that I am not sad. I am somehow able to move things around in my mind so I don't dwell on sadness. It works for now, but I am scared of next spring coming around, as it will. For you, my dear friend, writing will see you through. This is a beautiful and honest post. So writing and of course your Hero man. Have a wonderful holiday season, OK.

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  4. No words of mine will make it better for you, but I hope that as time passes you will find the joy of Christmas again. I love the idea of putting sweet memories on your tree. {{Hugs}}

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  5. Sometimes it's really tough to be cheery when you're missing someone who is no longer where you can phone them or hold their hand. Keep that new baby and your youngsters in your thoughts and treasure all the love you've received. Love is like manure---no good unless you spread it around. ;-) Merry Merry Christmas!

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  6. There are as many reasons as there are people that will treat it as any other day. For others, it may be their last. There will be some focused on putting Christ back into Christmas. Naturally, others will be Santa focused and again many will be a blend of this and that. I hope you and your loved ones and of course your friends from here, there and everywhere spend their respective day be it alone or in the company of another a sense of gratitude. I'm pretty certain the refugees that have arrived and those to come... are feeling it.

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  7. It seems your tree is just perfect for you this year, with the New Year perhaps some hope will be restored...afte rall you have that new Grand to spoil:)

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  8. I loved the young woman's answer to your reasons for not putting up a tree. You came up with a beautiful solution, your attitude was lifted, you are in the mood to bake, and you are being a light of peace and love this Christmas in spite of your losses.

    Love, hugs, prayers and wishes for sweet Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady

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  9. That's a good idea to have a memory tree.
    I sometimes have candles alight in memory of my parents..
    For Christmas I just go about it as usual, but two empty seats of course at the Christmas table...but we all get by. :). Hugs M xoxox

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  10. Lovely Idea for a memory tree. May the birth of the Christ child give you the reason to rejoice and keep joy in your heart even in the sadness of loss. I was in this same place after losing both my parents only 22 months apart. Somehow, the joy can return when we open our heart in honor of those precious loved ones. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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  11. It's a healing tree. Well done. Never try to ignore the sorrow, always remember those that have loved us and are gone. I find that after the initial pain of remembering the loss, something else takes it place, a feeling not unlike joy - peace.
    Have a peaceful Christmas season.

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  12. Lovely memory tree ! My Christmas's haven't been the same since my mum passed and neither has my Thanksgivings as that's when she passed 7 years ago and my dad passed just before Christmas 18 years ago as much as I try it just wont grab me any more . But I know they are watching over us and will always be in out hearts and that gives me a bit of peace at least this time of year ! Hoping your Christmas is a good one and remember all the good times.

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  13. What a great idea! I'm glad it helped :-).

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  14. The first year we spent with no parents promised to be a sad one....but we still had our daughter and grandson to make Christmas for.....I cut out white paper stars and wrote the names of everyone who once was in our lives...even pets....and put them on the tree among the ornaments and lights. Just the act of doing it was helpful. Your memory tree is a lovely way to bring those you've lost close to you for Christmas. Peace and Joy Buttons.

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  15. Our Christmas tree is a memory tree. Decorations collected on trips, decorations made by our children, all work to remind us of Christmas Past and inspiration to look forward to Christmas Future. Dickens had it right.

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    1. Great way to put that, Lillie. Your tree is beautiful.

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  16. B, I knew you would me make me cry with this one, but you also made me smile. A "Memory Tree" is such a beautiful idea, and will make this bittersweet Christmas so special for you and Your Hero. You have found just the right things to make it special. Your mom would indeed be proud. We have "memories" on our tree too: our children's first shoes, shoes worn by a goddaughter for her baptism, our dog Sparkie's collar, and ornaments made by our sons when they were young. This year, I will add the dried roses from our son Jeremy's wedding in memory of him and his lovely wife Jieun who cannot be with us. We will add things that will make new memories. Decorating a tree is a personal thing for each family and no two are alike because our memories---the good ones and the not-so-good ones are uniquely ours too. Thanks for reminding me of that. Hugs, C.

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  17. Thank you for these wise words, Buttons. Seeing a bit blurry after reading them. Xo

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  18. Blue Christmas is a reality that all of us must consider. We have to consider those who have suffered a loss. You have talked to yourself and found a reason to celebrate. Keep talking to yourself and those cows!

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  19. I am so sorry for your loss and I completely understand what you are feeling. Having lost my husband 15 months ago...this is my second Christmas without him. I just can't deal with it. I robotically put the tree up last year but I didn't enjoy it. This year I'm not putting the tree up nor any other decorations. I am just not feeling it. I've given myself permission to not feel it. Sometime....in a Christmas to come.....I will feel it again. Just not now. I can't. Thanks for sharing your story. **hugs** diane @ thoughts & shots

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  20. Happy you came up with the Memory Tree idea. We are using my dear mom's little fiber optic tree and her super long string of blinking lights, since I can't walk easily upstairs to bring down our own decorations. It may sound strange, but we rarely have gifts under the tree. I stopped doing that 35 years ago when we started celebrating Dutch Sinterklaas on Dec. 5. Who needs two gift days in December? Neither your sweet mother nor mine would be pleased to see us sad at Christmas. So bake those cookies, turn on those lights, and be merry! Hugs, Linda@Wetcreek Blog

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  21. Glad to hear you have a Memory Tree. Christmas is always strange for me. Each year.... We either are at our home or at my parent's house in Florida. I am glad they are still in my life, but forever Christmas has been divided for me.

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  22. I'm so glad you decided to listen to that wise lady. Your mom must be smiling with delight from heaven at your little memory tree.
    Warm hugs.
    Julia

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  23. I am proud of you. It takes a wise person to see beyond their pain and you did a great job of it. We have never had a Christmas tree, but every year I put up the last Christmas Card my Grandfather sent me, my favorite Christmas Card my Grandmother sent me, and the one my brother made himself his first year in prison. The toothpaste he used for glue is still holding strong (11 years later). I cry when I put them up, but I'm smiling through the tears. Merry Christmas.

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  24. I love your tree! simple and sweet.
    I got to the stage of opening the cupboard door where all the Christmas decorations live, but that was last week. I've yet to remove a single item from that cupboard.

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  25. There have been some very dark Christmas seasons for me over the years, and the one continuous bit of cheer was always a Christmas tree. Even when we did not feel like putting one up and none of our grown kids would be here with us, we put one up and were glad we did. I am glad you put your memory Christmas tree up. For you and your Hero.

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  26. I'm sure there is such a mishmash of emotions this year with the losses heavy on your heart and yet the joy of a new granddaughter. Prayers for you and yours, Buttons. I hope the memory tree will help you remember the good times.

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  27. Christmas can be hard for many. I hope you have a happy season with warm memories.

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  28. Another great and timely post, Miss B.

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  29. See B....you found your spirit.

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  30. I'm so glad that you found your way through your 'down' moments to decorate a 'memory' tree. I too, was feeling the same as you about 2 weeks ago. I even posted about it a bit. I didn't want to bother with a tree for much the same reasons as you but my husband wanted one. I thought a small tree would do but he wanted a big one. (He actually said "When I'm gone you can have a small tree"!) Men!!! So it's a big tree and the house is decorated and my shopping is nearly done. I've found the spirit to go on. My greatest loss is my brother last November (2014) from cancer and last Christmas was the saddest but I was carrying that grief into this Christmas too and knew I needed to break that chain of despair. I wish I had something of his to add to the tree but I don't. Thank you for sharing B. I appreciate it. Blessings to you and may you enjoy Christmas in a special way. Pam

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  31. B,

    Dear friend, this post put a smile on my face. You and I both have gone through enough this year. It's time to celebrate life, our families, and love. I haven't decorated because were constantly traveling down south however, were staying at my sisters house while we work on the estate. Her house is decorated with a small tree of remembrance too. I have a smile on my face, and I must say were all Blessed, Merry Christmas To You and Yours.
    Hugs,
    Sandy

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  32. Lovely festive images. I am not putting anything up this Christmas as my cat is ill. She has cancer. My heart is not in the festive mood at the moment.

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  33. Thank you everyone for your comments. I do know I am not alone in this. Many of us are struggling and reliving the sadness of the past in our hearts and our heads, oh I know this is difficult. I think we shall all get through this together. Imagine if we put all that grief together and turned it into something good. What a force to be reckoned with that would be.
    Today, I am heading out there and give with all my heart to those who are in need, and we all know there is a lot of need out there. Food banks, gifts for children, those ones we know will through this season and sadly the rest of the year with nothing. There is no shortage of people suffering. Maybe a needed hug or just a smile, may make all the difference in someone else's season.. We can all do this. I am pretty sure, that is what this season is all about. I for one am going to do my best for loved ones now gone in their honour. We can all do this. Think of the power shift to a different way of thinking. Good luck. HUGS and thank you for making me see more clearly. Merry Christmas xo B

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  34. A memory tree is a lovely idea, Buttons. :)

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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