Sunday, December 13, 2009

dilemma of the day - the first christmas

When you are in a situation such as mine; that is, living in your parents' home in the wake of the loss of your mother -

Always keeping in mind of course that there is a good chance that I'm the only one in the history of mankind with strong enough self destructive tendencies to put themselves in such a precarious position -

What is your duty when decorating for the holidays? 

In general we, as a family, have decided to be low key this year. We don't want to avoid the holiday all together -

Although it definitely wouldn't be difficult. It's not that I'm feeling hostile towards the holidays or saddened by them or any other emotion really. There is just an incredible numbness about the whole thing. It's like I'm behind glass that nothing can penetrate.

So, Dad and I discussed less decorating (I can't think of anything sadder than a house full of Christmas  paraphernalia and no Christmas spirit), no presents and a general sense of just getting through this one.

My father has referred to the question of a tree for weeks now as "my tree;" asking if will be getting one and insisting that he has nothing to do with Christmas trees in general or any tree I procure for the house in specific.

At the same time Dad monitored my movements closely yesterday as I retrieved the Christmas decorations from their storage place and was quick to note that there seemed to be fewer boxes than in normal years (please refer back to my earlier mention of the repeated discussions of engaging in less decorating than in normal years...and my father's apparent agreement with said plan.) And is now generally hovering over my every activity and questioning my plans for decorating.

What is my role here?

My mother was the spirit of Christmas in this house. I cannot and will not attempt to take on that role - especially not this year. I'm just trying to get by like everybody else. I know that Dad is too.

Maybe I'm asking for a Christmas miracle here, but does anyone have any advice for how to navigate this situation? How do I get myself through this holiday, do only as much as I can and still make my father happy?


Tasty Trix said...

Honestly, I think you all should go away somewhere, some place relaxing that will not remind you of what's missing. My mom got sick at Christmas and died in January 4 years ago, and the following Christmas I didn't go home. I couldn't have. (Made easier by the fact that my father is a horrible tool.) If I had been at home, I would have needed to leave for my own sanity, and you really have to think of your own sanity right now. You have to. Trust me on this one. Maybe next year you will feel up to doing things she would have done - you might even find comfort in that. I do now. But not this year girl. Definitely not this year.

Jenn said...

i would love to leave, my god i would love to leave. i just can't do that to my dad (too bad he's not a horrible tool!)
i'm REALLY hoping to get out of here after the holidays...just gotta get through this.
i keep saying i won't take on the kinds of stresses that my mother did her whole life, caring for everyone else first (which is what i think killed her) but here i am doing it anyways! it's just SO hard to draw the line.

Tasty Trix said...

i know, i know, i do! feeling responsible and guilty and like you have to make sure everyone else is comfortable and happy are hard habits to break, and realizing that not doing so doesn't make you a bad person is even harder. maybe you can get your dad to go with you somewhere? or if not, just please do something totally different. man, i so understand that empty physical ache of missing what's gone. i know it's hard, and i know it's hard to draw the line, but please remember that insofar as you have to figure out how to care for YOUR self, other people have to do the same for themselves, and if they don't, and if you don't let them (or make them kind of) you're not doing yourself or them any favors. but. it's the first year, and all bets are off and quite frankly - it's all gonna suck. that is the hard truth. remove yourself from being invested in all the drama as much as possible and please just go somewhere as soon as it's feasible. i went to a freaking job interview 3 days after my mom's funeral because i thought she would have wanted me to blah blah .. but that is crazy and i tortured myself, i realize in hindsight. but hindsight is easy when you're not stuck in the middle of all that nausea. listen - please feel free to email me off of my blog, and if you want to call me and talk i'll happily give you my #. seriously. losing your mom is the hardest and worst thing you have ever been through i am sure. what is worse than that? anything i can do to listen or whatever i would really be more than willing to do. look, you will likely say and do a lot of things this first year that you will later marvel at, not remember, or simply not understand. never beat yourself up over it. the first 2 years are a free pass to be as crazy and as miserable and as nasty as you need to be to work through it and anyone who doesn't still love you after that isn't worth a tinker's damn, as my own much-missed mom used to say.

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