What does Christmas mean to you? Here is one account. Hopefully it will spark something inside you to appreciate this holiday just a little bit more than if you didn’t read this article.
In what I call my old life, I was controlled and abused by a nasty man that I thought was the all-knowing and all-respected. Usually on Christmas Eve, we’d spend it at his relatives, and lots of drinking took place, and traditionally, whiskey broke out. I would be the designated driver and watch my husband drink himself through the happy stage, and cruise thru the pensive stage, the confused and then angry, and then to a lethargic state, and then he’d pass out on the ride home. I would have to get the kids to bed, the new presents out of the car and put away, get him handled and then start playing Santa Claus, getting the presents I had wrapped from the closet and setting them just right around the tree. If I didn’t understand a drunken syllable and misplaced a present, I was called obscenities and hit. Life was a bundle of nerves if his instructions weren’t followed exactly.
The good news is, my daughter confronted me and threatened that if I didn’t do something about her father’s abusive behavior that she would run away (she was 16). Bottom line, he was finally arrested and removed, and we both have orders of protection. It took a while to learn how to let go of a relationship and way of living that we had unfortunately grown used to for many years. We all knew what to do and when, it was like cult where we all ran around like his slaves, in the confines of our own home.
With him out of the picture, we were able to sleep and eat without interruption. We could have open conversation without being insulted. The first Christmas, the kids (ages 18, 16 and 4) didn’t want it first thing in the morning like it always had been. We needed to start new traditions that were healthy and would get the healing going.
After reconnecting with my family once my abuser was removed, I had a strengthening and supportive year and a half. I was able to bring my own parents and sister back into my and the kids’ lives. I started to feel good, resolved and slowly more confident.
Ten days after Christmas 2009, my Mom died… she had a fatal heart attack at home. Gone, just like that. It was a little eerie that when my sister and I packed up her apartment, some of her late-received mail-order gifts were there, carefully wrapped and labeled for our kids. Even stranger, not until the following Christmas did I come across a wrapped box containing what she told me was an ornament, I hadn’t thought anything of it, til I opened it.
It was an angel, blowing a kiss.
My point, new friends, is to be thankful for the people you have. One never knows when our breath will be the last. Don’t hold grudges, life is too short. Put yourself on the same level as everyone else, you are truly no better or worse. For rich or for poor, we all bleed the same color. Regardless of your faith, I hope you take just a moment to tell those close to you that you care for them. It will most likely make their day. Take it one step further and call that relative that you haven’t seen and haven’t made time for. Everybody dies, don’t take your (or their) time for granted. I wish you peace and hope you enjoy my content.