Thursday, December 17, 1998

The Joy and Magic of Christmas...Returned

I’ve thought a great deal about the holidays this year. The holidays are such a mixed bag of thoughts and emotions, and I’ve run the gamut over the past several years.

Earlier this week was the anniversary of the day my ex-husband left me. Back in 1995, I went home expecting to find my husband. Instead, I found an apartment empty except for furnishings and Faith (my loyal and faithful cat for the past 8-½ years). I got her when I first got out of the hospital, and her name was chosen carefully. When I left the hospital, I was very scared but determined to do something with my life. I wasn't ready to let my life just fizzle out. I knew I would be alone at first, and so I got a cat to keep me company. I also knew that making it on my own, believing I could make it on my own, would require a lot of faith in some things intangible, myself, a higher power, and the future. And so I named my cat Faith, so that there was something real I could hold onto and see, and I could believe would help carry me through. Somewhat of a metaphor I suppose...but anyway...I digress...

It snowed here on December 14, 1995. It took me hours to get home, and as I said, the apartment was eerily empty. My ex-husband called that night, said he was on his way home, and that was the last time I heard from him for 5 days. Mind you, the holidays with my ex were never a huge hoopla...they were a very, very quiet time between us. He had so many sad anniversaries and memories of the holidays it made holidays, particularly Christmas, rather somber occasions. Growing up, Christmas had always been wonderful and fun and exciting. When I was involved with my ex, Christmas became a quiet, thoughtful (though not necessarily peaceful), loving holiday. I suppose that isn’t really all bad, but it was not something I looked forward to with anticipation. This is my 4th Christmas without him.

Christmas morning has been hard every year since he left me. We had our rituals. I remember waking up, snuggling, exchanging our gifts, and making breakfast together...just spending quiet time together before trekking to his parent’s house. The first 2 years after my ex left, my mom was with me on Christmas day, and that made it better for me. But the last 2 years, well, I've spent Christmas alone. And I don't want to whine, because it really hasn't been all that bad. I've learned to do a lot of things alone that I'd otherwise love to share with someone else. And I have always tried to do my best to make the most of it. I usually succeed with a minimum of tears. The tears fall regardless, and I give them their due. Then I try to remember there are many people I love, and there is goodness and beauty all around me. I take a walk, think, pay attention to the crisp air, the clear blue sky, the white cleanness of freshly fallen snow, or the smell of a fire burning in the distance. And I remember that this is just one day in 365, and that most of the rest of them are really good days. A few, well, they need a little work now and then to get through.

This year is different for me. It's different for me because this year I have someone in my life that I care very deeply for. He has brought light and goodness into my life. He makes me smile and feel very much alive, loved, and wanted...and for who knows what absurd reason, seems to want my love in return. And I give it gladly, willingly, whole-heartedly. He has made a difference in my life. I can see things in myself now that I know I’ve done, but never really recognized in myself. Though sometimes I still struggle, I know, he has helped me to believe that I have value, that I am loved, that someone would miss me in this world should I be gone tomorrow.

This Christmas will be the first for me in at least 8 years that I am really happy inside again, and not so alone because of him. I always hoped to have magic at Christmas again, but I don’t know that I ever really knew it would happen. It’s been a long time coming. This holiday season will be a tough one for him. And although I can’t take away his troubles, I wanted him to know that I love him, and that I am here for him…to love, to hold, to cuddle, to listen, to share whatever magic the season brings. I look forward to waking up beside him Christmas morning, and snuggling, and wishing him a Merry Christmas! Thank you Rob, for loving me and making a difference in my life. I love you Rob! Merry Christmas!