Thank Goodness another Thanksgiving is over. Each year I make a decision to not let the date or Holiday get to me, but it does. It has now been twelve years since Jack, my dear husband, died on Thanksgiving Eve, and each year I vow I will not be sad. But that is so much easier to say than to do. It seems that the anniversaries of family deaths are imprinted on my brain, kind of like a hard drive, that I don’t pay much attention to until something comes along that makes me bring it up. Each year is easier, but there is always a moment of pain and sadness. It is soon gone fortunately because life is full of good and joyous memories that balance out the moments of grief.
The Holidays are very different for me now, because I have learned they are a flash in the pan of life. I don’t allow the now of celebrating overshadow all of the other good days of my life. Each year during the buying sprees such as black Friday, I let it pass me by and go on with what is happening to me right now. Living in the “Now” has been the best way I can combat any of the bad moments becoming too important. In fact this year much to my own chagrin I went to an early morning sale to buy some jeans that were half price. I usually don’t pay much attention to what is on sale, but this year a sale caught my eye and I actually got up at five to be at the store by six. That is my absolute earliest time to go out, and I probably won’t do it again. I deliberately ignore most of the ads just so I won’t be tempted by a very low price.
I have certainly reached a point in my life where relationships are more important than buying just the right gift. I’ve found that spending time in quiet reflection with warm memories is so much better than joining in the wild hustle bustle that many equate with the Holiday Season. Life truly has balanced out for me, and I appreciate each day for what it brings. Sunsets, warm weather, task well done, softly falling snow, a walk with Kaja, my dog, coffee with a friend and beautiful scenery are more meaningful and special than picking out the right gift or rushing to go shopping. I also have learned and welcomed the opportunity to know each person in my life in a more complete and enjoyable way.
Because I have always been a little critical and controlling, I have looked at each person in a judgmental way. Now I try to look behind the façade of each individual and see the anguish, joy or unhappiness behind each face. Now that I am a recovering controller, I try to see each person in a more tolerant, way without putting my own thoughts or expectations on them. Everyone has his or her own hang ups because of background, experience, education, religion, good or unhappy history, and I am the last person who should ever judge them. I am trying to accept each person for who they are and what values they have, not because of my expectations. I try very hard to be respectful of people and their religions and know that I have no right to make any assumptions or expect anything from them. That is the reason I love my own religion because we believe in freedom of religion and that everyone has the right to believe as they wish and no one has the right to say his or her religion is the only way.
Anyway I hope that will be my Christmas gift to everyone, to accept them fully without judgment and to be respectful of their own life style. Now if I can just let go of my own son’s actions. I am still too much of a mother and say to him “You need to pick up your clothes, or not leave dishes in the sink.” I need to let go of my expectations of him and love him unconditionally. He never says to me. “Mom, how come you have dishes in your sink or you need to clean your house.” So I will try to do the same for him. I think one of the hardest things for parents to do is let go of being that parent and become a friend. So Jason, if you read this you can remind me of that in the future! Not too much, please, and I will try to do the same.
I have read several light trashies, as I call them; those are the ones I read to go to sleep or just to relax. I read probably six light hearted books that I picked up at our church book sale to which I didn’t give another thought. One was a mystery by an English author, Marjorie Allingham, which I must confess I didn’t finish. Very seldom, in fact only once or twice, have I ever put a book down without finishing. I will read on to try to find some saving grace, no matter what! Anyway there was too much dialogue with British accents, which I found too wearing and gave up the book without finishing it.
Three titles I read with little break which found them difficult to put down to sleep or clean house. Neither of which is more important than finishing a good book. The first I read was Anne Rivers Siddons’ Outer Bank which is an attention-holding, well written book. Almost Moon by Alice Sebold was very different and a little macabre. I’ve heard her compared to a modern day Poe, and her stories are a little difficult to read, but hold your interest well. This entire book takes place in just one day. The last book of note was The Master Butchers’ Singing Club by Louis Erdich, who I have read before many times. A great story of an immigrant German family with shades of Native American intolerance, but realistic of the time. Enjoy the Holidays, but don’t stress yourself.