Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Angst

After yesterday's post, there probably is no need for this. But I admit it. I am a real scrooge around the holidays.

I love the idea of the holidays. The beautiful images of the perfect family gathered around a beautifully set table while Dad carves the turkey. The twinkling lights cast across the new fallen snow. Everything has that warm and fuzzy glow.

But my reality is not like that. Now don't get me wrong. I dearly love my family. I would do anything for them.

But the holidays make me sad. I see all those Currier and Ives images and I am reminded of all that I have lost. All the loved ones gone. Instead of being able to reflect on happier times and happier memories, I still feel the loss. I am sure it has to do with the timing of this.

Picture it. Christmas 1977. I was ten years old and in the fifth grade. All was right with the world. My 15 year old sister was excitedly looking forward to the next year so she could get her driver's license. And everyone doted on my surprise 2 year old brother.

[Sidebar: My parent's were married for 4 years and had not been able to have any children. So during my father's senior year in college, they adopted my sister. Five years later, they adopted me. Then 8 years later, my mother turned 40. She thought she had the flu and went to the doctor. It wasn't the flu. She was pregnant with my brother. So yeah, he was a surprise. Welcome. But a surprise!]

Christmas eve was spent with us shaking every gift under the tree. Guessing what they were. Dad always guessed a pair of socks. No matter the size of the gift. He still does!

Christmas morning arrived and we bounded out of bed to see what Santa had brought. We would tear into those gifts like there was no tomorrow.

Mom would then cook a big breakfast - including my favorite! After breakfast, we would load the car for the 5 hour trip to Mississippi to The Big House. All the family would gather and visit together for the next several days.

After spending time in Mississippi, this year we went to Memphis to visit with 2 of my aunts. They lived just around the corner from each other in Germantown. All the kids were busy destroying the game room while the adults played cards.

And then my life fell apart.

My mother told my father that she wasn't feeling well. She couldn't really describe what was wrong. She described it as feeling disconnected from herself. It finally reached a point that she was really scared and told my father that she needed to go to the emergency room.

So my aunts and my father took her to the emergency room. While in the emergency waiting room, she suffered a seizure. They immediately took her to the back and started tests.

A ct scan showed that she had a tumor in her brain. On her right side just behind and above her eye. It was the size of an orange. We later learned that it was malignant.

I remember my Dad coming home from the hospital and taking me and my sister into the living room. I thought we were in trouble because he looked so serious. He said, "Mom is really sick. She has a tumor in her brain....."

I started building the wall around myself at that moment.


Busy Bee Suz said...

awww. I hate this for you.
Not a good memory at all.
I can see why the holidays bring out some bad for you.
You guys should really start a tradition of going away each year. Avoid the drama and the bad memories.
take care,

ps. that breakfast, not sounding good to me. ;)

Big Hair Envy said...

This is SO sad. It's a shame that the holidays were ruined for you at such a young age. Imagine how your dad must have felt....

Why don't you fix that spaghetti breakfast for everyone on Christmas morning? Comfort food at it's best:)

Cool Breeze said...

I am sorry that this has made such a lasting impression on you. It does help to let others know how you feel. We can then share our strength to get through the tough times.

Try to think of all the happy occasions you had. She would want that.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my new blog.

Life with Kaishon said...

This was so sad. My heart hurts for your loss. I will be praying for you today and all thru the Holidays. I am so sad you had to experience something so painful as a child.

Monkey Toe Momma said...

{{{BIG HUGS}}} What a sad memory. I'm so sorry. My dad died Christmas morning about six years ago. I know how it feels to have the holidays tainted with loss (although I had the benefit of being an adult). But I try to push past that for the kids, and also, remember that my dad always like to go out with a bang.

The Incredible Woody said...

Suz - I think a new tradition is just the ticket. Maybe a ski trip!

Big Hair - Vol Fan always makes my special breakfast! I can't imagine the pain my father endured.

CB - Yes, she would. Glad you have joined our little community.

Life - Thanks, I really appreciate taht.

MTM - OMG, I am so sorry for your loss. It is amazing the strength that we can find when it comes to children.

smiles4u said...

I am so sorry. I can imagine that this time of year is a great reminder of that painful time. When you wrote, " I started building the wall around myself at that moment." I totally understand where your coming from. I pray that you can be good to yourself during this time. You have every right to be a scrouge at this time of year and people should understand. I think the holiday's are harder for more of us then we realize.

Dirtbikes and Divas said...

If I take myself back to the moment my folks told me about my mom's brain tumor I literally get sick to my stomach...You may have put a wall up but I will tell you that through this blog I don't feel a wall, I feel a warm, wonderful individual that makes me smile and laugh each and everyday! You must have had a wonderful mother who shaped your early years and I for one am sure that she is very proud of the woman that you have become!!