The Heartache of Being Merry (for the holidays)


This IS the season, isn’t it?  A happy time, a time of magic and wonder, a time of laughter and fond family memories.   A time of snow kissed holiday romances, of sugar-plum fairies, of unending familial feasts.  

The time of torn gift wrap piled to ones knees.  A time of scents…pine sap and cinnamon aromas in the house that smell so heavenly one could cry!  A time of snoring Grandpa’s and baking Grandma’s. A time of church bells and church plays, a time of red velvet dresses, patent leather shoes, bb guns, big soft dolls, and peanut butter fudge. The wonder of the holiday season, no matter what you call it, is a time of sweet merriment, a time for giving, receiving, loving, and being loved, right?

Well, not really, not for everyone. It’s also a time of sadness, of deep throbbing sorrow, of loneliness, of heart ache that begins after Thanksgiving (in the USA) and continues until after January one of the next calendar year and beyond. 

I wonder why no one told me the awful truth as I was growing up, why was I not prepared that people would begin to die away? That they would be here one season, and not here the next. What crap, what awful, heartless beasts they were to keep that fact of life a secret until I discovered it all on  my own.

I think to myself “Maybe it isn’t that others have it so good, it’s just that YOU  have it so bad?” (a line from the movie “As Good As It Gets”) but for tonight, I simply had to borrow it.

This witch is not a crier, no-no no. However, honestly, I “fake” it this time of the year. I do an awfully lot of hiding, tear swiping and make up retouching.  I cry daily, I cry while I cook, I cry in the bathtub, I cry before sleep.

 I go numb when I am shopping, right in the middle of an isle, I freeze when I see something precious and perfect, something wonderful that I would love to buy for someone who I love, but, I can’t do it because that loved one is that is no longer here on earth to receive my gifts.

You see,  I sorrowfully miss our youngest daughter, my Daddy, my two brothers, my Grandparents, several dear friends as well.  Truth is, if I allowed myself, I could howl continually this time of the year. How truly “Merry” am I? NOT!

There is no wonder that suicides go up dramatically at holiday time. It’s all of the emotion involved with the decorations, the shopping, the scents, the weather, the music…oh God, the music!  You get all softened up like warm butter, and then you look around and there is the empty chair at the table, the quiet unoccupied rooms of the house that once rang with excitement, it’s all quiet now. How am I supposed to feel, MERRY?

Our sweet daughter that is no longer here with us, she was always the first one up, running excitedly with her long pony-tail flying, up and down the hallway, waking everyone at five in the morning.  Her river water green eyes sparkling with fun.

Now, the dogs snore, the clock chimes, the door is to her vacant room is closed. I weep.

My two brothers with their laughing, flashing, Irish eyes are no longer sneaking out to my parent’s garage on Christmas Eve for a smoke and a nip of bourbon during the family Christmas gathering.  I could hear them through the furnace vents, I could hear it all, all of their laughing and lying.  I knew that they were down there hiding from the rest of us, telling one another fantastic lies, taking a big drink, a big draw, and getting on with a new tall tale. They were like kids again down in that cold garage, sneaking their booze and cigs, even at age sixty they were naughty brothers…..no more, no, no, the old garage is forever silent, it is lie, smoke and booze free.   I weep.

My Dad is no longer cutting the wrapping from his gifts with his super sharp pocket knife, every cut precise, like a surgeons cut. He always cut those boxes and the paper too, then painstakingly placed the rubbish in neat little stacks around his chair. I don’t know why this was so important to him on Christmas Eve?  No more, no sliced boxes and wrapping paper in their neat little piles at his slippered feet, no laughing dancing “fathers eyes” to mesmerize me. In my mind yes, but, not in his recliner where I want him to be. I weep.

Yet, in all of this sorrow, there is one new and shining star. We have a toddler Grandson and he wanted rubber “farm boots” for (Solstice) this year.  He wanted gloves and he wanted to bake cookies with Granny, and make punch with Poppa.  He wanted a tricycle and a train engineers hat, he got all of it and much more, he is only two, so we had to complete his list for him.

What a blessing he is, what joy to behold, his eyes so bright, his mind so quick. The way he says “Thank You Granny” makes me swoon, makes me dizzy with grandmother love. So of course, I cannot shoot myself, or worse. I cannot leave Poppa or our sweet surviving children, these are my beloved ones. I must dry my eyes and get on with the holidays, for there is this life to continue.

Life is a sacred gift, and no matter how sorry I  feel for myself, I must carry on, it’s a rule you know.   I want everyone and anyone who ever reads this sad little holiday post to realize that “going on” is a rule, so do it……but, still, I weep. (and I don’t blame me)

Jace and Gran on Solstice

Published by sheilarosskuhn

I write, I am an earth mother goddess...

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