The holidays have come and gone and quite frankly, I’m glad they’re over. For years, when I was growing up, Christmas was a wonderful, magical time of year. Decorated tree, presents, Santa, stockings all led up to the anticipation of Christmas Day. The "big day" entailed presents to be opened. Stockings to explore. Scrumptious meals. Church and singing Christmas carols.
But this year seemed so very different to me. The pandemic altered family get togethers. No large parties. Presents were ordered on line, often shipped directly to the out of town recipients to be opened without me being able to see their reactions. Neither my husband or I felt like dragging all of the boxes down from the attic, so we opted for the bare minimum of Christmas decorations. Our last year’s purchase of a pre-lit tree was it. No stockings, no Christmas village, no Christmas doormat. Not even Christmas cards were sent, even though we received some. (I’m hoping that friends and family won’t take us off their mailing lists…)
It feels like there was so much more sadness and grief this year. Deaths among families and friends. Loneliness due to previous years’ deaths or adult children moving away. Job losses and ensuing belt-tightening for gifts. In the years after Lisa’s death, our family was focused inward---on our loss and us missing Lisa so much. But this year, I could look outward, and see grieving with so many other families as well at this time of year.
If I knew the families or friends, I tried to reach out to them by phone or text. If I knew of their circumstances but didn’t know them, I could only imagine what their holiday were like. It just made me sad. I altered my prayers to include the many people who were hurting at this time. I was grateful for the things that my family and me have at this time. Yet it was, and still is, a helpless and sometimes overwhelming feeling about the holidays.
Yes, I’m glad that these stinging difficult days are over. I look forward to a time where there are not high expectations to be merry and bright. May life go on and people reach out to others with care and compassion.