A Dark Christmas

dark forest

There are times in this life when the path grows dark and uncertain and the only choice is to keep walking, keep going, suck up your courage and keep trudging through the darkness.  It’s not a fun time, in fact there are times when it’s gut wrenching, painful and the sadness and hurt will literally bring you to your knees.  There are times when fear will surround you to the point it’s hard to breathe and you simply want to stop – quit, not go any further because it’s just too hard.   There are times when you feel so alone that it seems like you are in a void, where there’s no light, no sound, nothing at all, just darkness.  Yet, I have been here before, though this darkness is thicker and the pain is more intense, I am no stranger to it. 

So here I am again, walking in the dark.  I know if I stay on the path and keep on moving that at some point, all of a sudden, the darkness will break, and the light will shine again.  Then the colors will start to glow and burst forth to create joy and warmth.  I just have to keep moving in this direction.  I have to make myself get up and keep going, because I know if I sit down I will be stuck here for a long time.  People that sit down can become lost then have to get help to find their way back.  I refuse to get lost.  

Grief plays tricks on your mind.  It’s not a kind thing, but just from my personal experience, I think (for me) it’s better to give in to it when possible.  Allowing myself to feel, cry, hurt, be frustrated, angry, sad, even hearing the voices of blame and all the what if’s.  I know just in myself it is far better for me to allow myself to go through it all, then to push it down or try to act like everything is okay.  So I have been a busy hermit at times. 

I made it through the weeks before Christmas fairly well, or so I thought.  I didn’t really realize how much effort and strength it was taking to hold it all together until the day we got off work for Christmas.  Then on the way home that afternoon I simply lost it.  I started crying and it felt like a black hole opened up inside my chest that sucked all light out of the environment.  I pulled the car over and just sat and cried for about an hour.  I couldn’t stop the flood.  Once I got it out of my system, though, I felt much better, lighter, though very raw and vulnerable.

It was then I decided to nix the Christmas Carols, and forgo the Christmas church service.  I just couldn’t do it.  I knew I would be blubbering all the way through it which would not be enjoyable for me or the people around me.  So, I did the thing I had put off to the very last minute, I went shopping. 

Christmas shopping while depressed, or grieving is dang near impossible, just so you know.  Every store has whiney Christmas music piped over the loud speakers, there are tons of kids running around grabbing toys, clothes or whatever else they find to show their parents they want this or that.   It was a long and exhausting process, but I managed to get a few things taken care of. 

Here is where I must say that I am SO THANKFUL that (for me) Christmas is about people, not stuff.  Our Christmas’ holidays with the kids and I have always been somewhat small, but we have made sure to get at least one nice gift and then other stuff that was also needed or wanted, but not so important.  Usually, I try to make some stuff for Christmas, but this year I just didn’t have it in me to put it all together. 

Since we had all had so much loss in such a short of amount of time our small family decided to do something completely different.  We all met up and went to Olive Garden on Christmas Eve.  It was a nice quiet meal with minimal emotions and just a good gathering.  It helped to do something way out of our norm. 

Christmas day we were able to sleep late, then get up and spend it with just us three.  It was nice to just take our time and relax.  Casey made breakfast, and we spent the rest of the day just enjoying each other, with me reading and watching Lindsey do her artwork and all of us watching Horror movies all day.  It was a great Christmas considering. 

Cherry Coley (c)

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