To Have The Blues
I am standing shocked in the middle of Home Goods surrounded by every possible knick knack, thingamabob, or gizmo aggressively reminding me that this is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! “Please Come Home for Christmas” is blaring on the speakers. A woman mistakes my stillness for wonder and says, “it’s beautiful isn’t it?” I tell her yes because, well-who wants to be the Krampus in the China Shop?
When I get home, I think about driving my van into all the boxed Christmas decorations stacked neatly against the wall. “That’s one way to put a wreath on the bumper,” I think. But I would go right into my dining room and since I need to sell the house a car sized hole probably isn’t a feature buyers would consider an asset. Instead, I back up my vehicle to pull down the stairs and put all the pretty things along with the memories up in the attic. Yes. I will be the house without a Christmas tree. No stockings will be hung with care-I made them, his and mine, years ago before cancer. Before he died. To see them both would be unbearable, but to look at only mine? That would be worse. I am not the Grinch. No. I am Max, struggling under the weight of a single antler, trying to stay upright but knowing pairs give us balance.
The holiday spirit does blow over me whispering of days that once were Merry & Bright. Gratitude fills my heart until at times I can’t bear the weight-I have much to be thankful for. Since my husband Bruce died in June, I’ve been shown care, kindness and mercy. Your gifts are precious, but what I want most of all this holiday season is permission to be sad. I admire your merriments and rejoice in the happiness, especially of little ones, enjoying the season. I take all the worry of family and friends with the love of your intentions like gifts of the Magi. My sorrow is no reflection on your efforts-allow me for a bit to be Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree bent and dropping needles. It’s selfish I know. Grief doesn’t make me blind to those whose suffering is tenfold to mine. Give me time. I understand the lesson of Scrooges’ redemption and the golden rule which transcends all seasons. But right now I’m just a little numb.
So please don’t be offended if holiday traditions are hard. Remember they included Bruce and going through them this “first” time is a reminder of his absence. I cry watching commercials. Carols make me weep. I want to snatch Santa’s bell and hit the red kettle with it. A stuffed penguin wearing a stocking hat made me teary eyed until I smiled. Then I laughed. Grief, especially during the holidays does leave room for joy. It just can’t be forced. Memories are a curse and the biggest blessing. Don’t ask me what’s wrong. You can’t fix my sadness. This Christmas all I ask for is your patience. And green bean casserole. Preferably the kind with the dried onions on top.
Rebecca Slaton – My husband Bruce Slaton died on June 26th 2019 of complications from lung cancer. He was 67.