Family Moab

Family Moab
In Arches National Park

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Holidays Can be Hard

 My father passed away three years today. Our family was 'fortunate' that he was taken before the pandemic, in that we could all be together at my parents' home to say goodbye. Dad had a full life and filled our upbringing with his vibrant, "can-do" personality. Because his illness was progressive we had forewarning of our loss. But today it still hurts - a lot.

As I get older, the awareness of loss increases exponentially. Earlier this week our community lost a wonderful husband, father and dedicated activist for the visually impaired. He lost a battle with a rare blood cancer, and now his family must step forward into each day this holiday season without him.

People in my extended family are also dealing with loss and personal grieving; some are amazing women, mothers and wives who carry the burden of creating a wonderful holiday for their children even as their thoughts are consumed by, and bodies dealing with, pain. I hope that our experience with Dad helps me and my siblings understand this better and empathize more deeply.

In Saturday Night Lives opening skit last Saturday the comedians sang about "don't remember December." They focused on current events that no one wants to think about under the mandate of being merry. I chuckled agreeably, but it's not so easy to forget, even with a Xanax in the egg nog (as one sang). Some of my favorite memories of Dad center around Christmas, which he loved. His deep voice telling us to wait on the stairs as he checked to see if "Santa had come," the miracle of a gorgeous tree and a river of presents springing forth in the living room overnight, singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful" in church, drinking endless bottles of red wine as adults gathered around their long dining room table.

So as the Christmas wave and resulting riptides pull the sand out from under us, let's remember that every person we encounter probably struggles with something hard.  We can forget or push aside the world's ongoing woes but I hope our memories of good times with loved ones serve as a life preserver in the strong holiday current, and that they carry us through together.