Can You Relate?

I can’t say I’ve been depressed lately but I sure have been sad. You know, when you get The Weeps and even a soppy commercial will get you going. I’ll bet a lot of people can relate to this much more than the ecstatic joy we’re all supposed to be experiencing.

Last week I didn’t visit my aunt so it was partly guilt but then one of the reasons I didn’t go was because I was feeling teary. Now looking back it seems like I was getting sad in advance for all the sad things about to happen.

My aunts Christmas party at the nursing home was the same day and time as our family Christmas on Saturday.  I already didn’t want to go; it meant spending a short time with my family to go there. I don’t get a lot of happy time. My sister and nephew were going to go but the timing could not be worked so I was not alone in my guilt.

But I did have an edge of sadness all day. I found a gift bag in my Christmas box that had been used for a gift to my husband and I from my sister and her husband who died. I cried at the life we thought we had but lost.

That night I was invited to a party! That doesn’t happen much….. ever. One of my co-workers was having a Christmas party. Or so I thought. When I walked in there was a big banner and balloons saying “Happy Retirement!”.  I was really surprised and embarrassed. I was the first one there………  then after a few hours I was still the only one there. No one else came.

I learned how to play dominoes!

I felt so bad for my hosts with a big spread of food and drinks. They went to a lot of trouble and expense. Their house was decorated beautifully, they shipped their kids out for the night. They put on a good front in the face of disappointment.

My host asked me where I lived and knew my road and the businesses on it. I asked him if he knew my neighbour who is a well-known, local radio host but has been battling lung cancer.

“Yes, I guess you heard he died today.”

I hadn’t as I’d been at my sisters most of the day. It was a shock and I started to cry. My poor hosts…… I was their only guest!

I had a big mug of coffee at the ‘party’ and could not get to sleep that night. Not only was I hopped up on caffeine but thoughts of my neighbour and co-workers danced in my head. I don’t know what time I fell asleep but I woke up 5:00 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep.

I worked Sunday and was so tired and sad. I got a Christmas card and a present and started to cry. The day passed slowly. The freezing cold lunch room and the guy telling stupid, ethnic jokes made me want to cry, but I held back.

When I got home no one was at my neighbours…… his wife was with his kids in TOWN. I laid down and slept for two hours.

Yesterday I was determined to go see my aunt so I can have a couple of nice days off guilt-free.  They were singing Christmas carols which wasn’t so bad….. I joined in. They gave out sheets of music one at a time with a carol on each side. They sang pretty high for me so I was singing the alto, entertaining myself.

My aunt just pointed at the words rather than sing them. There was a lady beside me who was all twisted up and couldn’t talk but she could look at me with big, wide eyes, which she did the whole time I was there. I was doing OK until “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

As soon as they handed it out I thought, “Really?” Have you really thought about this choice? Do you know how many people here are sad because they can’t go home for Christmas?

I cried. Just think of it; an elder soprano on a guitar and a room full of very old people trying to mumble the words to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. I tried to hold it back but got the trembling chin and tears soon over-flowed.

Afterwards I went to see my neighbour, the wife of my deceased neighbour. We hugged and cried.

I felt completely drained when I got home. Got a nice fire going, turned on my Christmas tree, made some cocoa  (real cocoa with milk) and had an hour-long nap.

Life is always a mix of good and bad, happy and sad, abundance and loss. We are bombarded with images of perfect Christmases, great parties and presents galore. It’s marketing, that’s all. It’s to make us spend, spend, spend in our quest for the perfect Christmas. It’s not real and it’s certainly not spiritual.

Today I can stay home and it’s supposed to be partly sunny; a chance to get happier. It’s a double good thing I’m not working today because I need a little more time before I face those absent co-workers. I am mildly disgusted with them.

Can you relate? Is this not more like real Christmas?

my retirement party
They made real cedar boughs throughout the house. So beautiful!