Nov. 22, 2017

ALONE FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

It’s difficult for me to accept that…in less than a day….it will be Thanksgiving.   Usually, I plan far-in-advance for this-- my least favorite time of the year. But, the ongoing project to sell my house has required all of my time and now, I’m vulnerable and ill-prepared to face tomorrow… and all of December.

As children, when we experience trauma or situations that cause emotional despair, we are, invariably, marked for life. Those memories remain with us and, as adults, visit us at specific times. My Mother never wanted me to be happy, especially during Holidays and most especially, on my birthday. I remember feeling alone and unloved, every Holiday Season. For most of my life,  forced to spend many Thanksgivings and Christmases alone, I've always dreaded November and December.

 So it’s not surprising that-year after year-Thanksgiving, My Birthday, Christmas, and finally, New Year’s Day,  follow each other- in that exact order- and keep me traumatized from the end of November until January of the next year.  

When I had a family, I tried to make Holidays as joyous and festive as possible but after the marriage ended, my children divided their time between me, my parents, the ex. and his family, and—eventually-- their husbands’ families. Six years ago, they decided to stop dividing their time and simple abandon me...forever.

I especially try to protect my emotions from all-things-Christmas, including music, pictures, decorations, christmas trees, even gift wrappings.  After moving to China, I found great relief. Stores in China weren’t decorated for Christmas, and Chinese Television didn’t feature old Christmas movies, or choirs singing The Messiah, or ballet performances of The Nutcracker.   The only music played in my hotel during November and December, celebrated Santa Claus…..not baby Jesus.

Eventually, I returned to America and was, once again, unable to avoid the end of every year. For those who have never been alone-without family or close friends- during the holidays, this subject is a waste of time. But, it can happen to anyone of us at any time…for any number of reasons so…take note.

Nothing will ever challenge you emotionally, like being alone during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I promise that, regardless of your strength and determination, very few can endure being alone-- without family--while the rest of the world is enjoying time with family and loved ones….around the Thanksgiving Table and under the Christmas Tree.  

My salvation is having my big dog, three loving kitties… and God.  They are my family and, if not for them, I couldn’t face tomorrow and the following days.  Sure, at times I cry, feel sad, and ask “why” but…I force myself to focus on my writing, various projects, while continuing a one-sided dialogue with God and my animal babies. 

Together, we live-beyond my yearly challenge. It's a fact that all those who are alone... at this emotion season of the year....benefit from love.  The main reason I've survived being alone during the Holidays is because of the love I receive from my animals and... from God.

For me,  singing God's messages through hymns, also helps. Lyrics from old hymns like GOD UNDERSTANDS continue to boost my spirits and provide much-needed hope. Hymns inspire me to keep looking-up, far beyond my sadness.

“God understands your sorrow, He sees the falling tear

And whispers “I am with thee,” Then falter not, nor fear.

He understands your longing, your deepest grief He shares;

Then let Him bear your burden… He understands, and cares.”

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For all who are lonely, don't despair. Just ask God to take care of you, just like he cares for me.

In love always,

Sally