Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas--Both Merry and Otherwise

Christmas is a complicated time for many. It is for me. My father died on Christmas Eve. Given the intensity of my feelings—both positive and negative—that cannot help but impact how I feel at this time of year.

The funny thing is that I always forget. I wake up on Christmas Eve depressed and grouchy and at first I always wonder why. Then I remember. And realize how it’s affected me for days.

Once I remember, I can make my peace with it. I light candles. I let myself remember the love. I remind myself I have overcome the effects of the damage he did. I let him go with love, honoring what he gave me that was good and wishing he had not been such a damaged, hurting soul himself. I bless his spirit and pray for its healing even as I blow out the candle I lit for him.

And then I go on with Christmas.

This year, I had a quiet Christmas with my daughter and then put her on a plane to see her friends. We are closer now than I would once have believed possible.

Christmas used to be difficult. I would feel as if I was walking on eggshells, sure I would forget something essential, or that a fight would erupt in my home. Then one day I realized I could create new traditions, that I didn’t have to do what everyone—or even anyone—else did. I could choose what was right for me. I could let it be imperfect and know that was still okay. I could take time to remember good moments of the past year and smile. I could count my blessings instead of my fears or sense of lack. I could send ecards (thank heavens for the internet!) to people who were important to me to whom I hadn’t sent physical cards. I could take time for moments that made ME happy—no matter what my family was clamoring for me to do.

I hope that today—and every day—brings you at least moments of peace and joy. And I hope that the year ahead brings all of us health, happiness, and much success.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


Karma said...

Thanks April. I had a similar experience on Sunday - watching all of the families and then really missing my Mom. I'm glad that you've found a way to acknowledge the pain of the situation and then move past it. How together you are with everything really makes you a role model for us other survivors.

Enola said...

I have that moment too - when I realize that I'm tense. Holding on to the feelings of the past. Then I let them go and live in the present. I'm glad you have managed to do likewise. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Holidays are so painful and exacting for survivors of abusive parents and families. Thank you so much for this April. Blessings in abundance to you. Emotional hugs, MW

jm said...

Like you said, we can make our own traditions and go from there. the insistance on tradition can be a good or bad thing depending on what that tradition is or was. We are so glad you have your own that work for you, we too have had to reprogram our holidays but we are doing it and moving on. peace and blessings to you


Holly said...

Blessing and peace in the new year!

Anonymous said...

Hi April,

Thanks for this post as well as the entirety of your blog. I consider it divine intervention that I stumbled upon your blog over the holidays, and your work here has been such an encouragement. A real gift.

Thank you so much for all the time as well as the emotional and spiritual contribution that you have made here. There's a lot of work invested in this site.

You have helped me. From the comments, it's obvious that you have helped many others, too.

Perhaps no one understands the importance of acknowledging and appreciating effort more than a Survivor. I don't want to just read and lurk here.

So, please know that you are appreciated very much and I'm very grateful to you.

I'm hoping that the lack of any posts since Christmas is a good thing - that you are too busy and having too much fun to get near a computer and blog - but just in case you need some Attagirls, here is one comin' atcha.

May God bless you greatly in 2008!

A fellow writer (published, yes), child advocate, and Thriving Survivor

April_optimist said...

Karma, Thank you. And (((hugs))) on missing your Mom.

Enola, I'm so glad you're able to let go of those feelings, too.

Mother Wintermoon, I hope that you are finding moments of joy and that blessings flow abundantly to you as well.

Keepers, I'm smiling thinking of you creating new traditions and being able to create this new life for yourself.

Holly, Thank you. Blessings and peace to you as well.

Rebecca, What a lovely thing to write! You touched my heart with your kind words. I'm so glad that I've been able to make a difference for you. I'm so glad that you found my blog--and that you posted your comment to me!