Some of us hide behind facades during the Holiday season. We pretend to be having a wonderful time and fill our lives up with parties and gift giving and spreading good cheer. When in our realities we are falling to pieces. We are sad or disappointed or lonely or grieving. Yet, the world expects us to buck up and push it all aside.
I want to not be ashamed of my sadness. I want it to be okay to say, "Yeah, I know the tree is lovely but it hurts to look at it and remember other Christmas's." I want it to be okay to simply cry all day and feel my grief and not try to hide behind a false bravado. It would be such a relief to allow myself the time to just actually fall to pieces until I could not be broken anymore and then quietly begin to glue myself together.
I wonder if the reason we have lingering sadness is due to not being allowed to feel it completely and to its completion. We cut our grief short because we are supposed to go on and remember others have it worse. We "snap out of it" to make others more comfortable or to take care of business. We don't complete it. We don't always go on and adjust and get used to it. Sometimes, we just ignore it all so we are able to go on at all.
Eventually it creeps in on us and sometimes takes us over. It seeps into our very pours and drowns us inside when all we want is to break free from the sadness. We cannot let it go while it lingers in neat little boxes in the dark recesses of our minds. And sometimes, we cannot let it go at all-because it shouldn't be let go. It is part of us. It creates us as well as destroys us.
I know there are children starving all over the world but it does not make the sadness less in my heart knowing it. I will cry for them too as well as all of the people I am missing. It does not lesson my grief to know someone else is grieving too. It only makes me remember I am not alone.
We try to cheer people up and say, "It could be worse…" or "You have so much to be thankful for…" Well, yes, it could be worse. It can always be worse. I never forget for one moment what wonderful blessings I have had and do have in my life. No one needs to remind me of any of them. I see and experience an abundance of good each and every day. However, it does not fill up the holes. To know I have good people in my life does not erase the fact that there are those I love who are missing. Nothing fills up those places. Nothing does.
It does not matter what we have when what we have lost is irreplaceable. There is no magic pill or potion to change what other people do-or to bring someone back to life. So, let me be sad and miserable about it now and then. There is reason to be.
We walk around, especially at this time of year, with heartaches that feel like severed limbs and we are expected to carry on as if we are still the same. We aren't. Not if we actually have let people into our lives and loved them deeply. If we really have allowed people to touch our lives then we are changed, made better or worse. We are changed and we should not be afraid to mourn who is missing. It is another reason to be grateful and not ashamed. That we have loved so well is a blessing in spite of the tears it may leave on our soul.
Monika M. Basile