And so it begins...

The holiday season.

Many of you have been looking forward to the holidays.  Thoughts of turkeys roasting, pies baking, shopping madness, and time spent with family and friends have you filled with nostalgic happiness.

I normally am a big fan of the holidays.  But I've been dreading this particular holiday season for quite some time now.  And now here it is upon us and I'm not sure how I feel.

Last Thanksgiving day, both my beloved uncle and my amazing father were rushed to separate hospitals.  One with a stroke, and the other with tachycardia.  A good chunk of my extended family left the Thanksgiving party for hours to be at the bedside of their loved ones.  We returned later, bedraggled and tear-stained to plates of food that the rest of the family had lovingly saved for us.  Hugs were given freely along with pie.  Both men were admitted to the hospital that night.

And then it all went to hell in a hand-basket from there.  Two of the longest and saddest months of my life.  On Christmas Eve, we gathered to say goodbye to my uncle, who passed away that evening.  Then we dried our tears.  We gathered our emotions and our gifts and made the journey to my father's hospital where he sat awaiting open heart surgery.  We opened our presents surrounded by medical equipment and nurses.  We tried to make it as festive as possible for Dad.  We spared him the news of my uncle's passing until after the surgery.

His surgery was scheduled for the day after Christmas.  He never recovered and we spent January watching him weaken.  His organs shut down until he finally passed away just after his birthday.  It was just awful.

Now, the holidays are forcing the memories back to the forefront.  My mother has to face her first Christmas without him...her first wedding anniversary without him...her first New Year without him.

Thanksgiving was the first hurdle.  My aunt, my mother, my cousins, and I smiled and ate pie and put forth a brave face.  But it was tough.  I am so very thankful for my family.  I couldn't have gotten through it without them, but it was not really a "good" Thanksgiving.

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How does one find the joy in holidays when the sadness is so entwined with the season?

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