Scrooge

I think I forgot how to “do” Christmas.

Seriously, this year just does not seem “Christmas-y” at all, and it is less than two weeks away.

Perhaps it is because I am out of practice?

After two years of being in hospitals, maybe my holiday capabilities are just not there anymore?

But if I was being honest with myself, holidays for the past six or seven years really haven’t felt like celebrations, and it has been slowly progressing to get worse.

Let’s go back to my junior year of high school.

December started out fabulously! My entire mom’s side of the family (nearly 20 of us!!) went to Disney World and had an amazing time enjoying the decorations, specialty treats, and overall time together.

When we got home there were only a few short weeks until Christmas break and my mom and I were busy baking, preparing the house, wrapping gifts; all the fun stuff that I always loved to help with as a child.

When the “big day” finally arrived and our family gathered at my home, as we traditionally did, everything was PERFECT. The only thing a little off was my grandmother being sick.

She had a sinus infection and was just tired, which did not permit the same participation as I was used to with my beloved Mimi.

We urged her to go home and head straight to bed because her cough continued to get worse and things just didn’t seem right.

What was even more odd, was that we did not hear from her for the next three days.

You have to understand; my Mimi and mom were both single, and so we were all together, literally, every few days. It was weird that she didn’t call if she needed help, or just stop by like she always did.

Since I had just gotten my driver’s license, and the family as a whole was starting to get worried, my Uncle and I decided to go check on her at her home.

Her car was there on a weekday…

…Strange because she worked a normal week, Monday through Friday, in a law office.

She was probably just home sick again, right?

Unfortunately not.

She had actually passed away Christmas night when she got home, and we were only realizing it a few days later.

From that year on, no one really got together anymore at Christmas, nor was anyone as cheerful.

There were no more large family gatherings with a traditional dinner.

The spirit just kind of dwindled and continued to disintegrate as time passed.

Now, it’s barely even there.

My mom and dad both live in NJ with their significant others’. My aunt and uncle don’t really associate with my mom anymore, and the rest of the old bunch is only seen a few times a year.

Ryan’s family has been great, and totally accepted me into their traditions, but it just does not feel the same.

As you all know, I do not do well with change, but I am working on trying to get back that old Christmas spark I used to know and love.

I don’t mean to write such a morbid story during the holidays.

Honestly, I had no intent on doing so until yesterday when Ryan pointed out that November and December are notoriously my worst months as far as falling off the recovery wagon, and maybe what I mentioned above, is partially why.

I haven’t really thought about it until now, and I never even grieved over the passing of my grandma, so maybe that is why we have had to be extra cautious these last few weeks when I have had terrible body image issues, and at some points really wanted to quit doing the right thing.

A lack of acceptance, or feeling a hardship, was always a major cause to my ED.

I hated any form of negative emotions and I did my best to avoid them at all costs, which often meant “numbing out” through excessive exercise or deprivation of nutrients, but this year I am going to do better.

There are many many reasons I have to celebrate, and although I do not always believe it, I deserve a Christmas cookie sometimes too.

I deserve to cry if something makes me sad.

And I certainly deserve a better holiday than I had the last two years.

And I deserve to have an amazing Christmas, regardless of the circumstances.

So do you….remember that, because I know especially at this time of year, taking care of yourself can easily be forgotten.

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9 thoughts on “Scrooge

  1. aw thank you for sharing such a personal problem.i really understand your point and to be honest my family never celebrates the holiday together.everyone lives in their ‘own world’ and never attempt to come together to celebrate.Christmas for me is just my mom and my sister watching christmas movie marathons at home.I have to also say I dislike Christmas sadly because it was on this day my dad left me…so definitely the ‘joy’ isnt really present.I must say though that although in terms of family and celebration customs this year Christmas to me is more important that just gifts,parties etc.This Christmas year God blessed me with the most wonderful gift of all and that was finding myself once again after many years of despair.So this year I will be sad and happy at once,a bitttersweet experience but regardless I am thankful.Hun thank you for posting such powerful posts that make me think!

  2. Ah Honey, I’m so sorry about your Grandma and her passing on that Christmas. I know that losing a loved on can be hard and I hope that you’re able to adapt well to Ryan’s family’s Christmas traditions. The holidays to me are about being with the ones you love! I hope this Christmas is wonderful for you!

  3. It’s so hard to lose someone you love, but at the holidays it is even harder. (And if I’m understanding your story correctly, it sounds like you found her. I’m so sorry, CJ!) That’s hard stuff to deal with, so it’s no surprise that it’s a tough time of year.

    You DO deserve an amazing Christmas. I hope that is exactly what you get!*

  4. You WILL have an amazing Christmas. Just try not to compare it to previous childhood Christmases… it’s hard BUT think those childhood Christmases as memories and be thankful for the memories : ) That’s what I’m trying to do this year. It is the first Christmas since my grandma passed away in June and my sister will be in Peru.

  5. Hope this Christmas will be one you remember with new traditions and fond memories with your in-law family. Looking forward to spending this Christmas Holiday season with you and Ryan.
    Luv Sharon

  6. Both my living grandparents passed away in January (my mother’s father and father’s mother passed away when I was too young to remember them).

    My paternal grandfather flew out from the UK for my wedding and got sick on the flight over (we got married in early December). He actually could not attend my wedding and my aunt stayed home with him. He flew back to the UK while we were on our honeymoon. He passed away in early January. My grandmother passed away on January 13 three years later.

    Because their deaths were after Christmas it didn’t really affect how our families continued to celebrate Christmas. However several years later, I found out a rather shocking family secret that actually involved my beloved grandmother, that made my sense of all our family Christmases seem based on lies.

    Too much information to basically say that you find your footing on how to define your Christmas as time goes by.

    That first Christmas, I ended up refusing to bring out any of the family decorations or involve myself in any traditions.

    Eventually you weave together the nostalgia (that is always rewritten in our memories constantly in any case), you forgive yourself and loved ones, and you embrace the gift of the present in a way that completely makes sense for you.

    On that first rather disoriented Christmas, my husband and I went to a botanical gardens that goes all out with lights. We had never done that before. It was cold and clear that night (not common on the west coast), beautiful, and it became a new tradition. Sadly we don’t live in that city now, but walking around to view the Christmas lights features prominently for us still.

    It’s a tough time of year for many and it is far from being morbid to write about your experience. Instead it gives those who feel on the sidelines this time of year a sense that someone is standing next to them. What better Christmas gift could there be than that?

    • Thank you Gwyneth. You are exactly right that it is time for me to create new holiday traditions and embrace them with open arms. They may be different, but different does not always mean bad. Thank you for your insight and wisdom. You have a way with helping me look at the bright side.

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