Friday, December 18, 2009

'Tis the season

Nearly five months of silence.

So it's time for some rambling, I think. 'Tis the season, and all.

I realized, probably not for the first time, but for the first time this year, that the things I do at Christmas post-Thomas are things I do to cope with Christmas post-Thomas. The obsessive ornament buying, the totally over the top cookie baking for the annual family Christmas tea we started hosting the year Thomas died, the ornament making party, the explosion of garland, tinsel and lights all over the house.

It's all busy work. And a bit of a disguise.

Which makes me wonder what Christmas would look and feel like if I didn't try so hard to make it magical. If I didn't wear myself out quite so much. If I just took some time to sit and listen and let the season quietly work its way into my soul on its own terms.

I've been doing this - busting my proverbial (and literal) ass in an effort to prove to everyone that I am full of Christmas spirit and also just fine, thank you very much - since that horrible first Christmas without him.

And while I've been so busy trying to demonstrate my fortitude, I haven't really let anyone do anything for me. I haven't let anyone scoop me up, plunk me down and take care of me during this season when my heart feels both so full and so empty I can't fathom that it even knows how to beat anymore.

I haven't shown the people around me that I'm still vulnerable. That while I love Christmas, it also hurts. That maybe I need a little extra TLC these days, or at least a pass if they find me slightly out of sorts at some point during the back-to-back festivities (all of which I promise I really do enjoy in my own way).

I steal moments, finding empty corners of unused rooms in which to regroup. But I do it secretly. As if there's something wrong with needing a moment to breathe.

I've put an inordinate amount energy into avoiding the need for pity by proving my strength, and to my own detriment. Because now, now maybe I want people to take a moment and whisper that they remember. That they miss him too. That he is not forgotten and never, ever will be.

And now they probably won't. Because they think I don't need it.

Or worse, that I don't want it.

Because I've worked very hard to show that I don't.

Stupid, stupid me. Although, in my defense, who the hell is good at grieving? Especially this kind of grieving?

I think I've done well these past four years and nine months. As well as I knew how, anyway. But I've learned some lessons, and I'll be making an effort (because it's always about effort, isn't it?) to tone down the Christmas dog and pony show next year.

I think it's time.

Next year will be for me.


Nancy said...

I've been reading for many years and I'm always so happy when you have a new post up. I wish that Thomas was here with you this and every Christmas. I will remember him and he is missed.

Mrs. Spit said...

Remembering the way things should have been.

Glad to hear your voice again.

Anna said...

I've been missing your voice. Even though I'm an internet stranger, I remember Thomas, and wish he was there to enjoy his Mom's incredible spirit and generosity.

Shanna said...

If only a Christma wish could come true and I could turn back time and make this all different.
Wishing you both a Happy Holiday season and possibly another package from Wisconsin. Don't hold your breath as I still don't have Christmas cards out and it is only 3 days before THAT day. ;)
Know you are loved and that his spirit is with you as well as all of us in your computer. Love and hugs my dear friend.

erica said...

It can be exhausting, trying to make the days merry and bright for everyone around you when your own heart is aching. I hope next year really is for you.

aerialsmama said...

I rembember sweet angel Thomas, and I grieve with you and all of us who have lost loved ones. He is missed but also is so fondly remembered and loved.

loribeth said...

So good to see you posting again! "The things I do at Christmas post-Thomas are things I do to cope with Christmas post-Thomas." So very true, although my method of coping is more withdrawal-based than yours. You need to do what feels right for YOU -- & that doesn't necessarily need to be the same things from one year to the next. (((hugs)))