Is it January yet?
This isn’t a bah-humbug post. This is a hug for some; and a realization for others.
Not everyone loves the holidays. Every time we see a commercial or post that talks about being with family and friends during the holidays, it’s like getting stabbed over and over with a butter knife.
Not everyone is with family and friends for the holidays. Many have lost loved ones, either through death or estrangement, others are miles away.
The house is exceptionally empty, quiet and lonely from Thanksgiving through New Years. It may be empty, quiet and lonely the rest of the year too but at a time of office parties and family gatherings it’s only magnified that some are without loved ones during the holidays.
I know it’s natural for many to want to extend an invitation to those you know may be alone at Christmas. It’s the season of giving, so why wouldn’t you open your home to others? You can’t stand the thought of someone being alone.
Here’s the dichotomy though – that invitation can make matters worse for the lonely. What?! I know, backwards, right? But if you are casting your net, trying to scoop up those without family or friends to spend the day with, it feels like a mercy invitation, like a charity case to those on the receiving end.
I know the invitation is meant with love and kindness, but if you’re wanting to include someone for Christmas who isn’t already part of your inner circle the rest of the year, it only highlights how alone we are not just on 25 December, but during the rest of the year too.
You may have noticed I’ve used the word “we” a few times above. I’m not using it lightly like when your doctor asks “How are we feeling today?” (I don’t know about you doc, but I’m miserable, that’s why I’m here.)
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. My parents and grandparents aren’t alive. I have one brother who lives across the country and has for the better part of the last 30 years. I haven’t seen him in years. We’re not close. No animosity, just not close. I have a couple cousins who live on opposite coasts of the U.S. I’m single. I have the loves of my life – my two daughters and two basset hounds. The two legged daughters spend time with their dad and his family during Christmas.
Holidays are very quiet around here. They have been for decades. There are some perks though – I can snipe auctions on eBay without much competition and Netfix rarely freezes up due to high volume of viewers.
I have an unusually high number of friends who have lost parents and spouses this year. I know a couple parents who have lost their child this year. The first year without a loved one is a doozy. It’s an unrelatable pain unless you’ve walked in those shoes.
So to those who are missing loved ones this holiday, I send you hugs.
To those who are surrounded by family and friends, try not to complain about gathering around your relatives. Many would do anything just to spend a few hours with theirs.