I’m not going to lie, sometimes when I think about a piece I’d like to write for this blog, I think, “I can’t write that for Too Funny Chicks! What I want to say isn’t funny!” So I don’t write anything. But then these thoughts creep in, like, “I mean, it will probably be funny…I don’t really know how to be 100% serious…so, maybe I should just try it. Maybe what you have to say, someone needs to hear…or at the very least, the nagging feeling you have about writing said piece will go away once you get it out there and anyways, you should just write about whatever the hell you want.” So…that’s where I’m at with this piece.
I remember in the last few years, seeing posts on social media around this time of year that would say something to the effect of, “Not everyone is happy around the holidays…try to remember this is a hard time for some people…” and that really resonated with me. Not because I disliked the holidays due to loss or painful memories, but just because I had never thought about that. Like, that’s so true. Here I am over here with photos of my family at Thanksgiving and spreading holiday cheer through light-hearted Facebook posts lookin’ all happy and cheerful. Ugh.
Listen, a couple side notes to this story…I haven’t been a HUGE lover of the holidays for a while…especially Christmas, just because of the over-consumerism and all the stress and all the hullabaloo that goes along with the holiday seriously detracted from my joy. Right or wrong, it did. People that start the countdown the day after Halloween with the excitement of a cocker spaniel with a new bag of Snausages, that’s fine. I’m truly happy that you’re able to hold onto that. I’m sure I’m a bit envious as well. I used to be like that. All happy and stuff. Plus, in the last few years, I had started to get that feeling back a tiny bit. Not feelin’ as Scroogey as I had in the past, look I even have proof of my Scroogeyness: Click here. But, I remember two years ago…my iciness was starting to thaw, a tiny bit. And then last year happened.
The week that led up to Christmas last year was kind of a blur. A week spent almost outside my body. Not able to connect the dots of what was happening. My Dad was very sick. He had gone through two terrible bouts of cancer and he was weak, and frail and not himself. I won’t go into all the details of the last week, let’s just say, although things looked bleak in many ways, I still was filled with incredible hope that almost collided with a naive firmness that this was just a bad bump in the road.
The morning of Christmas 2016 began around 4:30 AM with my oldest sister swinging wide the bedroom door of the room that my husband and I were sleeping in, saying, “It’s time!” Knowing what that meant sent me into a state of utter frenzy in slow-motion. Not able to put pants on or stand up from the bed and yelling at my husband to help me walk. In the about 45 seconds it took, which seemed like an hour, I got up and ran to the living room, where my Dad had spent the last 6 months of his life, living and sleeping.
It was dark outside and the lights of the beautiful Christmas tree along with the glimmer of the metallic ornaments shown so vividly but also, at the same time, dimly in the large room. My Dad was gone. I always think of the words “Heartbreakingly Beautiful” to describe this Christmas morning scene. A scene forever burned into my brain.
Being that it is the first week of November, of course, the holidays are here. Advertisements on TV, social media, the radio, holiday music playing at Rite-Aid, department stores decorated in green, white and red, people counting down to Santa’s arrival. And, like I said before, I want everyone to be happy, to be excited about this time of year. We ALL have so much to be thankful and grateful for. Celebration and joy are words that I believe are synonyms for life. But, that said, I now understand, more than I ever thought I would, what those social media posts by people who were sad at the holidays meant. I understand because, with every twinkling light, every cute reindeer wrapped gift, every Perry Como song I hear, and even when I see the Grinch…all of these are small pin-pricks to my heart. Reminders that, I lost my Dad, my Santa, on Christmas morning. And how the hell am I ever going to love (or even like) Christmas again? I’m so mad at Christmas, even though I know it’s not Christmas’ fault. I’m sorry, Christmas. It’s not you, it’s me.
I have two kids. Who I love to pieces. They’re actually kids from another mother, but I think of them as mine, as I’ve been their Bonus Mum for almost the past 10 years. What I do know is this, I won’t let Christmas dampen for them. I want them to see all the true meaning, fun, and incredible joy that is Christmas. I would never let my sadness or my “fight” that I’m in with Christmas right now, affect their perception of this magical time of year. But I will say, it’ll be one of my best acting gigs yet. Two-months long, in fact. A long time to not see a commercial on TV and not give my television the finger, to not see posts on Facebook and not tell my computer to go F itself, to not be at Target and run down the aisles breaking all of the stupid ornaments and Santa cookie jars. (Just kidding, Target, I would NEVER do that…I just have delightful daydreams about it…).
My most rational, logical, evolved and positive self, knows that I need to think about the happy times spent with my Dad in holidays past, hold onto the fact that he would be bullshit with me if he knew that I was going to let this little thing (of him passing on Christmas morning) affect how I hold Christmas in my heart, not only for me but for my whole family. I know I should start new traditions that could allow me to move forward with a loving heart of remembrance of my beloved Father. I know…and I will. Well, I will try. That’s the best I can do.
And with regard to my childish, pissed off, and bitter self who so far has been cursing at the television and unfollowing joyful and triumphant people on social media, I will try to reason with her. Continually remind her that others SHOULD be THIS happy! That I SHOULD be happy, too. I should. I really should. But, sometimes shoulds are impossible. Sometimes shoulds cannot be. But, I have hope and desire that I’ll find the light of the holidays again, and the voice of my Dad in my head telling me to not be such an a-hole. I hear you, Dad. I’ll do my best.
So, maybe the takeaway from this piece for all of you happy people is that you should continue to be ecstatic about the holidays on the near horizon. I’m so glad you’re happy. I truly am. But, maybe, just for a short respite from your exhilaration of everything Charlie Brown, eggnog and brown paper packages tied up with strings…remember how hard this time is for some. Be grateful for your joy. And the takeaway for me and the sad ones is that we have to remember that the reason for the season is happiness. That those who still are able to feel that magic and joy are the lucky ones. They are in a place that we hope to visit again. You can’t hate on them for being happy about Christmas! Stop rolling your eyes at them…that’s the takeaway.
P.S. Alternative titles for this piece were, “I change the channel faster for Christmas ads than I do when those ASPCA ads come on.” and “Why Christmas can go F itself.”