Turkey, stuffing, and pie make us fat and clog our arteries anyway. You can be thankful another year. This year, just breathe.
It came at a time that I was feeling incredibly guilty about not feeling thankful on Thanksgiving. I have my health, my friends, my family. Wait, no. Actually, no I don’t have that last part. At least not the family that I long for. What exactly is it that I’m supposed to be thankful for? Thankful that it’s not worse? Thankful that Gav wasn’t in the car, too? Or me? Or the hubby? Thankful that we spent Thanksgiving in a house full of reminders of what we’ve lost? Thankful that we’re so clouded in grief that we couldn’t even fully enjoy the little things about Thanksgiving like cooking together or spending time with our nieces and nephews? It was like someone attached chains to all the adults’ necks and ankles and expected us to smile through the pain—just going through the motions.
I grossly underestimated the emotional toll of Thanksgiving, expecting Christmas to be the big, grief sledge hammer o’ doom. The thought of decorating for Christmas or enduring any other tradition that will not include Noah makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little. I may be the biggest Scrooge on the planet. Yesterday, I had a
million few extra minutes and decided to find one, new Christmas item for the house at Home Goods. You know, something that might spark the holiday spirit. No. Every sparkly, little decoration or magical Christmas quote made me want to run for the hills. Even the smell of Christmas potpourri brought back memories of the kids drinking cider, waiting for Santa, and I had an urge to rip everything from the shelves. I left empty handed to say the least, but the store was intact. Just call me Cassie the Grinch.
This was supposed to be Noah’s last year at home. As his parents, we were supposed to spend this holiday season soaking it all in, enjoying one, last season of tradition before our big boy spread his wings and went off into the world. Gavin was supposed to tease Noah about being the big man of the house after he left for college. Maybe we might have shared a beer with Noah this year. This was the year we’d enjoy the fruits of our labor.
But instead we’re slogging through a parallel universe we don’t want to be in. I don’t want to cry at the dinner table and have to excuse myself. I don’t want to “are you okay,” Gavin to the point that he wants to scratch my eyes out with a pencil. I want to enjoy our family time and the simple traditions that make the holidays special. But that’s not where we are. We’re just…here.
So, this year, we breathe.
We may decorate for Christmas. We may not. I may make Christmas cookies. I may not. We may do something different or do things the same. We may even go to church. Doubtful since God and I still aren’t exactly on speaking terms. I talk to Noah more than I talk to God, though I know they both know what’s on my heart. Point being, we will decide how we are going to handle Christmas…in the moment.
And that’s okay.
Before Thanksgiving, I placed a ton of unnecessary expectations on myself, feeling like I needed to be a perfect friend, aunt, family member, [fill in the blank] for the holidays. No, I don’t. I just need to survive this season with an acceptable amount of meltdowns. We all need to cross these days off the list of firsts. Then, with any hope and a lot of hard grief work, next year will look a little brighter.
Next year, we can be thankful.
Next year, we can find the Christmas spirit.
This year, we’re just going to breathe. Whatever that looks like.
Tomorrow I’ll be more positive and less pissed off. Hopefully. Today, I’m just here.