Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas, Charlie Brown

So here we are, another Christmas Eve.

I count my blessings. I have my kids, my extended family beyond that, and a great (and ever-expanding) circle of friends. I have a house that isn't burning down or flooding with sewage, so there's that.

But it's still empty, almost 2 years later.

It's hard to be 100% into the season without the woman that was there for 21 Christmases, that female counterpart, that partner energy, the yin to my yang. I'm tired of solo parenting, tired of making all the decisions, being the caregiver for all and being the stoic one. Whine whine whine... yeah, you've heard it all before. Probably won't be the last time I say it either.

I apologize in advance if this post is dwelling on the negative side, but it's what goes on in my head and my heart around this time. I pretty much hate holidays now, having had many of them ruined by association with tragedy and death. I mean, I keep a civil (if not downright jovial) face, but it's hard for me to really find inner joy at this time of year. I'm willing for that to change, but for now... there it is.

Perhaps it was the storm knocking everyone's power out, but the vibe around here has been retarded. People in general have been selfish, short-sighted assholes to each other. Many of my friends have mentioned the same thing. It's impossible to go from one side of West Seattle to the other without somebody demonstrating imminent natural selection. Slow the hell down and look at the big picture (and maybe hang up the friggin' CELL PHONE while you're driving in the rain and ice, idiot). The day will still come. Christmas will still be here. It's not going anywhere. And here's a concept that came via an unexpected and rather nice phone call from one of my Dining Room actors just a couple days ago: If the giving of a gift (or reciprocity from a gift given) is expected, THEN IT IS NOT A GIFT at all. It is socially-acceptible extortion. By all means, give. But give truly and from the heart, not because the calendar says now is the time to take out a second mortgage to support the retail economy or because you expect anything in return. There's a certain expectation about gift giving during the winter holidays, and a certain amount of generosity and hospitality is a good thing. But there's a point past which it just seems a bit gaudy... and missing the point of the holiday in the first place.

I mean, didn't you see A Charlie Brown Christmas?

Anyway... There. I'm done with my holiday rant. I'm sure that will help fix all the problems in the world.

Here's wishing you all a safe and happy holiday, full of love and giving... for all the right reasons. :) Be sure to tune in next week when I tell the year 2006 to kiss my lilly-white ass.


Anonymous said...

Know just where you're comin' from T.

We may not have the snow & ice over here but we still have idiot drivers and cell phones - even though we call them mobiles.

Ali - sharing the emptiness.

GoodEarth said...

Hi Todd,

so many of us feel lonely/strange/depressed/empty (and all the other positive ways one can feel) at Christmas, for our various reasons.

GoodEarth - sharing the emptiness.

Anonymous said...


You summed up my thoughts exactly darlin'. This is my third Christmas without Rich, and I hate to tell you that, um, it doesn't get much better - not yet anyway. But I have hope (it's what gets me through the BS) that things will get better, even if that "better" means that life, as we knew it, will never be the same.

Peace to you and the kids, Tbone.


LL Cool P said...

Yeah, it took me many, many years after my dad and his brother both died to get my holiday spirit back, and I imagine it's worse after losing the love of your life. My therapist says this is the busiest time of year for folks in her profession, so that's a cheery thought, too.

Meanwhile, I'm tired of the selfish assholes year-round...but living in L.A., I don't think they're going anywhere. :-)

peace, LLP

JenniferJaneD said...

Hi Todd-
Hope you got through the day OK.

After reading yours and Lisa's posts about struggling through the holidays as widda's, I wanted to share with you the irony of what I experienced.
As you know I am now married to a former widda and his sons (11 and 13 now) lost their mom 3 1/2 yrs ago.
Guess who was happy this holiday?
My husband and step-sons. Happy as hell.
As I shopped, wrapped, decorated and prepared for weeks...they were all happy. As I created the Xmas mood with candles, food, music etc...they were all happy.
I watched the day unfold...them unwrapping, playing, and eating the brunch, snacks, dinner and desserts I made for all of them. All those struck with a loss... BEAMED...and I, the one who never lost my mate or mother, was the one who felt bummed out.
Interesting, this life.

tbone said...

Wow, Jennifer. You went the extra mile for your hubby and new family - just for that, I want to give you a medal. I cannot fathom how daunting that is, going into a relationship with a widda and inheriting an entire family and history and all that baggage. You, my dear, are superhuman.

I'm sorry you were down. Can you put your finger on the source of it? You obviously provided your family with an amazing holiday (and should be proud).

JenniferJaneD said...

Thanks for responding...
It's multifaceted really. So many layers to this situation...

But I guess it's mostly a problem with this:
"You obviously provided your family with an amazing holiday"

I have been around 2 yrs now, but I don't feel like anyone is MY family. HMMM.
I really don't deal with widower issues from Henry. I am aware and sensitive to the boys loss, but they are doing quite well.
I guess I see the 3 of them as the family, and I am the maid, the cook, the organizer, etc. Even the much needed disciplinarian.

I am glad the three of them have all moved forward so well in the last 3.5 years. I think MY life has been the one altered most recently though. I inherited a family, and am not sure I feel connected at all.
The boys needed so much help...I am tired out. Do you notice people indulging your kids because of their loss? Because if you do...stop it NOW. It creates quite a mess, and it is HARD work to fix, especially as they become teenagers.
Thanks for caring, I don't want to continue to make your post about me. I just took note of your pain, and how it's the opposite of what's going on for this group!

I don't know how you move on from your soul mate. As I have said before, I am grateful Henry didn't have that in his late wife, as moving on was easier...and fortunately I shine in comparison.
(Sounds arrogant, but she was an alcoholic, and absent in her life with them.)
But're not alone in struggling with the many of us non-widdas are there too.
Thanks Todd.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I have no other way of making this comment to you other than hijacking Todd's post.

I'm not sure this is a 'widower' issue as much as a 'wife' issue.

It sounds to me as though you're not being valued, acknowledged, listened to, cherished, appreciated. This may not be a 'widower' thing, just a total non-comprehension of how difficult the role of wife and mother is. Being a step mother makes it so much harder.

I have an 11 year old son and a 13 year old daughter. Structure and boundaries are totally necessary - yet sometimes difficult to impose. Sadly I see a lot of families where it's Mum who's made out to be an ogre as she struggles to do this. Guys may want to be big kids, but once they have them they have to step up to the plate.

You're sounding terribly unhappy. It is not sounding like a healthy family situation. Counselling????

I hope you get some love and appreciation soon. Wife does not equal doormat.

Ali - stepping off her little soapbox to give you a hug.

tbone said...

Hi Ali,

I didn't get that Jen was being neglected or emotionally abused in any way. In fact, from her post, it seemed quite the opposite. They really seemed to appreciate the effort she made, but something just wasn't there for her.

I could be completely off-base here, but it sounded like something Jen needed to examine herself. I'm all too familiar with that headspace.

Hugs just the same,