I’ll be transparent with you – I’m having a hard time finding my holiday joy. My cookies and fudge haven’t been made. I’ve hardly watched any Hallmark Christmas movies. I’ve been going to bed at 7 pm, simply wanting the day and the week to end.
In a late-night meditation, the other night, I took inventory of my soul and found so many splinters. Like so many, this year I lost family members and several friends. In all my years of doing my work, I’ve never experienced the weight of grief like what I’ve seen this year. And we continue to be a society that has seen so much tragedy that many have forgotten empathy and compassion. We’ve become a society of instant gratification, and many need an instant response. Then add in this time of the year which hands unfair expectations. I can blame society and people, but it won’t change anything – however, I felt like I was turning into the Grinch, and I needed to figure it out.
Yesterday, Chuck and I ran to Kroger for some dried cherries, hoping to get inspired to make my Cowboy Cookies (recipe below). I looked at the car next to me as I opened my door, and there sat a man look down at his phone. His glasses pulled down just a bit, and he was laughing at whatever he read. And he looked exactly like my brother. I pointed him out to my husband, who looked and noted that he did indeed look like Duane. The man must’ve noticed I was looking at him because he looked up from the phone, turned to me, and smiled. And if you believe in doppelgängers or spirit simply showing up as a human person, yep. I smiled back, wiped a tear that I hadn’t even realized was running down my face, and went into the store. Oh! My Grinch was grief. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Grief. Illness. Death. Depression. Add in the holiday season that we are told must be the most magical time of the year. For some, it is. For some, it brings up painful memories and it becomes painfully obvious who isn’t here in the earthly sense anymore.
My mom used to say Christmas wasn’t magical, but the bluest of all. I thought she was jaded. For me, Christmas has always been my favorite. It offered the promise of the impossible. So, while I haven’t been feeling any of that this year, I’ve also been beating myself up for not feeling the magic. But the thing is – It is important that we process our grief, no matter the date on the calendar. It’s important to feel our feelings and not pretend or try to bargain that everything is a-okay.
We all experience grief in our own way, in our own time. Therefore, there’s no right or perfect time to experience, and don’t let anyone force you into a script if it doesn’t feel right to you.
Today, I will make cookies. I will put a Hallmark movie on. Not because anyone is forcing me to, but because I want to. So, if you aren’t feeling it, it’s okay too.