I hope that you are all are surrounded by love, laughter, comfy fluffy blankets, jammies, and puppies. Or is that just my family? Whichever way that you are spending it, I hope it is treating you right and that you are at peace.
It is no secret that this has not been an easy time for us. Both my husband and myself have had a tough time with the holiday season. We go from being excited about the celebrations to wanting to just crawl into a hole and not reappear until it is all over. It’s been challenging trying to negotiate our own personal feelings and grief process with the responsibilities and pressures of what we feel we should be doing for our family, friends, and even ourselves. It has been particularly challenging for myself, a recovering people pleaser and as someone who, under normal circumstance, absolutely loves the Christmas season. There are a lot of things that we didn’t bother with this year, there were no Christmas cards sent out, we didn’t attend every holiday event, and I didn’t even fully decorate the tree until Christmas Eve. There were just things that we couldn’t summon up the energy to do. I still listened to holiday music on almost a daily basis because I’m one of those cheesy folks who really enjoys it, it puts me in a good mood (I’m actually listening to it now). And while the tree was fairly neglected, I did manage to decorate indoors. I love the warm glow of Christmas lights somehow they make a space seem warmer, more inviting and intimate, and I guess those are all things that I crave at this time. Heck, we even managed to host a holiday cocktail party with a small group of friends, and even though both my husband and I tried to back out of it a couple of times because we felt uncertain, in the end we had a good time (though we may have celebrated a bit too much) and were glad we had that time to unwind.
One of the things that I knew I had to do but for some reason kept dreading was shopping. I’m not really sure what part of it was making me apprehensive because for starters I enjoy shopping, and I really like gift giving but the thought of it was making me very anxious. So I kept putting it off, saying I didn’t want to go, saying we’d go later, which only made it worse when we found ourselves at the mall days before Christmas. Worse yet, I found myself at the mall, by myself, 2 days before Christmas Eve and I wished I’d ordered everything online weeks earlier. Something about the season, the amount of people and noise, and how impatient and angry everyone was really got to me. Plus, if I’m being honest, I just felt really shitty about not having bought my husband anything, not one gift for either Christmas or his birthday (which is 3 days after Christmas!) and so I was feeling really low overall. The first time I went shopping alone, I couldn’t bear than to hit more than a few stores after wandering the mall sort of aimlessly. I don’t think I even purchased anything that day. I felt frustrated, exhausted, anxious and sad.
I made it back to my car before I had a full on meltdown and then pulled it together enough to be able to drive myself home. I drove through tears, and all my thoughts went back to the baby, to the pregnancy, to where I’d be now if I hadn’t miscarried, and to where I am now, after the miscarriage, and days away from what would’ve been our expected due date. I always knew that the holidays would be difficult but when we got through Halloween and Thanksgiving, and while there were some sad moments, it felt as though for the most part I was doing okay, when December hit me like a ton of bricks. I came home and cried some more, and the next day like some sort of masochist, and because, I still had zero gifts, I did it all over again, and it was even worse. I felt physically ill, I longed for headphones to drown out the sounds, the ceilings were too high, the voices too many, and I had to get out. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before, but at least this time gifts were purchased.
Again, I cried as soon as I got in the car, and again, I cried all the way home. And I thought of her, and I talked to her and I told her how much we hurt, how much I missed her and her living in me, however brief, and how much her death killed a little piece of me as well. How we didn’t know her but we loved her, how we just knew she was a she, no matter what. And how we have tried and will continue to try honoring her existence, presence and importance in our lives, how we are forever changed. I don’t know if it helped, it just happened.
Today is the first day in weeks were I’ve felt okay. It’s been a slow day as Christmas Day usually is for us. We wake up slow and move around real pokey like, and that’s okay. I think it’s what we’ve both needed. Lots of food, and snuggles, lounging in jammies and under blankets with a dog or two always following close. No where to run off to and no where to really be. While we enjoyed Christmas Eve with our families and the love shared, there was still running around, things to be done, and places to be. Which is enough to get me worked up and feeling anxious, feeling like I’m failing somewhere if not everywhere. So I’m very grateful for today. For doing all the things I want to instead of have to, for dirty dishes and messy rooms, for dogs who play with crinkled up wrapping paper they find on the floor and for all the tamales and pozole my little heart could desire, thanks to my mama. Today we are living so slow (even this post took me hours to put together) and I love it. Tomorrow is a new day, a day closer to THE day, and tomorrow may hold a whole new range of emotions. But for now, I’ll go back on the couch, cuddle up with a hubby and dogs, surrounded by mess and twinkling lights and enjoy the calm.
I hope that you are all in a place of calm and warmth. I hope that you are experiencing today in a way that is best suited for your heart and soul, that you are doing what you need to for you instead of what is expected of you, even though that is easier said than done, I hope are able to take care of you. Before this year, I, selfishly never really reflected on how difficult this time of year can be for others, because I loved it so. Now through my own experience and that of others I realize this isn’t always a time of joy and cheer for everyone, and that is okay. If you’re not feeling particularly cheerful today, know that you are not alone, and that I am thinking of you too.
If you do celebrate, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, from my family to yours, including Our Little Blueberry Baby, always.