My Christmas

24 Dec

I don’t know if I can do this.

Walking down the wet street in the dark, stumbling with my latte on the way to work, my one payday treat, it suddenly starts to snow, on Christmas Eve, the slow fluttery pieces from the sky landing gently on my face. I can’t stop it. I start crying, right there, in the middle of the sidewalk at 7:14am.

I stop it before it can really start, before the heaving I feel can bubble past my outdoor defences, the walls I’m rapidly building up against everyone for safety. I want to collapse and sob right there, surrounded by all the trappings Christmas Eve should give-the sparkling lights, the softly falling snow, people and packages moving swiftly past me. I envision this in my mind, lying in the wet, my ankles bent under me as the city wakes and wanders by me.

Instead, I let a tear, one tear only slouch down my cheek before I wipe it off. I owe myself that much.


I’m very angry today.

I love Christmas. It was my mother’s favorite holiday, closely followed by Halloween, and her love for it, for the sparkle and the glitter, transferred somehow to me. Not that I’ve ever had Christmas as I imagine I should, made lame by grief or people who can’t be bothered to feel joy. Being joyful alone is almost worse than being joyless really.

I can’t even find the joy this year. I find myself staring, hostile at Christmas displays, unwilling to locate Frosty the Snowman on TV or even take the girls for a walk to look at the lights. I want to bury my head in the sand and not see any of it, removing it only when January 2 or so comes and I can wake up nursing a hangover and dreaming of next Christmas when certainly, it must be better.

And I’m pissed. I’m fucking pissed that life, that someone leaving me, telling me I’m no longer enough or changed or whatever the fucking reason is, I’m angry that my Christmas has been buried underneath all of this shit and I can’t even raise my head enough to see through it. That I feel worthless enough to not care.

I want to care. I want to breathe in the beauty that this season usually affords, the strength it gives me in touching the beauty that is people being good and kind. I want to not cry when a customer is joyful and wishes me health and happiness, a woman I’ll never meet, emphatically telling me she wishes me only the best for the new year, meaning it. I want it to matter.

But it doesn’t. There’s an empty hole where this season should be for me this year, stripped bare much as the rest of the facade of my life has been. I feel empty and hollow. Even wrapping presents, something I normally adore, was a chore that made me incredibly sad. All these things I’ll need to be for my children alone now, really alone. All these things no one will do for me.

All this alone, the finality of it. It’s bad enough being alone in a relationship. It’s even worse being alone outside of it, and facing a life with kids, one where odds are, no one else will want to join. The idea of Christmas forever being, from here on out, something only I can build up and make lovely.

Why can no one ever do this for me? Why am I so unworthy? Why do I always have to make it for everyone else?

The hurts of a lifetime, magnified by the empty boxes and heart under my tree.


I’ll walk home later, in the softly falling snow, and cry again. Stunned by beauty, saddened by a life that kicks me just enough that everytime I get back up I wonder, really, is it worth it this time? Everytime I think I have it right, bam. Down again.

I’ll cry because I will get back up. Because I will hold my head up and believe I’m worth more than being treated like a mistake someone made. Because I’m the only woman in my daughter’s lives. Because I’m the only one willing to give them the Christmas they deserve, the joy and magic.

But I’ll cry because it’s lost to me, and I want it back.


12 Responses to “My Christmas”

  1. Kelly O December 24, 2009 at 9:08 am #


  2. Erika December 24, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Hi. I think this is my first time commenting; I’ve been lurking for a few weeks now.

    Anything I can say in response to this post will sound trite. So I’ll go Kelly O’s route: xoxo.

    You will get it back. You will.

  3. Mad December 24, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    My firend got divorced a year ago. She told me in the summer that she is over him but still overwhelmed by anger at the life, the scripted life, that he took from her. I get that. Am thinking of you often this Christmas and wishing better for you b/c you deserve it.

  4. sweetsalty kate December 24, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Remember all the times so far that this has felt like the right thing, this new start – even if it wasn’t initially on your own terms. It’s the right thing.

    I know this year, Christmas is bound to be emotional and sad and tangled up in all the ‘normal’ you feel like you’ve lost. But it will come back. I know it will. xo

  5. Jennifer December 24, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    The death of a relationship follows along the death of a loved one. It is one of the top stressors that you can go through (right along up there with the death of a loved one) in life.

    You’re entitled to be pissed, to be sad, to cry. Check out the stages of grieving.

    * Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
    * Anger (why is this happening to me?)
    * Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
    * Depression (I don’t care anymore)
    * Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

    also, thrown in there:

    * Numbness (mechanical functioning and social insulation)
    * Disorganization (intensely painful feelings of loss)
    * Reorganization (re-entry into a more ‘normal’ social life.)

    I know that doesn’t help, or make you feel better, but know that you are not alone, that others have been through this and have survived. They’ve gone to the end and have discovered their strength, that they can, and will survive without the other person.

    For so long you’ve identified yourself as being part of a couple, its a shake up to discover that you are no longer part of that unit. That you have to re-create who you are.

    However if you’re honest with yourself, you likely will realize that it’s been a while since you’ve been an honest couple.

    I’ll be thinking of you. Remember too, that your girls are recording these holidays, try to make it special. Your mom had cancer to deal with, you have a divorce and mental illness. Make them proud. Make them look back 20 years from now and wonder how you found the strength to make it special given the challenges you faced at the time.

    You can do it, you can pull yourself out of it and find the strength to do it, and when you get to the other side, stop and look at what you did. Then be proud cause you did it.

  6. Jennifer December 24, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    OH, and FORCE yourself to smile. Seriously, you’ll notice your mood will lift.

    And take some damn vitamins. Vitamin D (boosts immunity), B12 and complex B (helps with stress and mood), fish oil (also helps with stress).

    I notice a HUGE difference if I forget to take them for a few days.

  7. Bon December 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

    it’s gotta hurt like hell, sweetie. just wanted to send you love.
    and hope for better Christmases, all that you deserve.

    i’m sorry there’s no promises of that. but i believe in your capacity, and suspect you’re more likely to see them ahead with this nonetheless terrible loss than you would’ve had he stayed.

    see you Monday. xo

  8. Marcy December 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Cry all you need to, loud and long. There’s no obligation for you to be happy happy joy joy right now.

    Hold on to your hope, for sure, and smile (especially the half-smile — the full grin can send a message of tension and aggression to your brain, but a half-smile tells your brain that you’re serene).

    It’s still Christmas — its comfort and joy are still there, and you have things to take comfort and joy in, along with the things that you have to cry about. You don’t have to choose one or the other — they’re both there, both true.

  9. Kris December 24, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Anger. That one sticks around a whole lot. I’ve worked things out, and yet the anger, I’ll admit, it’s still there.

    The one thing I raged about the most was, why the fuck did he have to do it, leave at the point where I had to deal with the holidays, the questions, all that shit? Why ruin my holidays with you leaving? I think all marriages need to only dissolve in the summer. Not near the “family” holidays.

    Hope things get better. You deserve so much more than this.

  10. lili December 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    My Ma-her birthday is/was Xmas. Her death was Jan 2nd. The grief will hit you unexpectedly. Feel free to go on lockdown and say: Nope.Not dealing today. Try to engage but if you can’t-don’t feel guilty. Take happiness in the very smallest of things:

    A warm house and a blanket on the couch
    Junk food that you can afford to eat
    The good memories
    The promise of a good,better future
    The pillows to punch and the dishes to break when you feel like losing your grip.

    Oh how I understand anger.

    I wish for you strength, hugs, endurance, and one at least good thing to smile about at some point in the near future.

    Your life WILL get better. It will.

    Love changes everything and you are a loving person. In seven days 2009 won’t even be here anymore.

    You’re cared for-even at a distance.


  11. Liz December 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    Thordora- Try to think about that you are doing the necessary work of moving through the pain and eventual healing that if not done now may have been put off to years from now. If you and your ex-husband were bound to part ways and it was the inevitable (only you and he know), than it is so much better for you and your girls to go through this now while you are still young and can recover from this. I know women who have gone through this in their 50’s and 60’s and it appears to be so much more difficult. So much more pain because their possibilities are more limited and so much time wasted. If all of this pain does not move both of you back towards each others, than that could help you to realize that it is the inevitable. I know it hurts like hell. It’s worse than a death in some ways. You are in mourning and will be for some time. Yet you still have so much (youth, health, your precious girls etc) and you have a world of possibilities ahead of you. On the practical side of things, you have to nurture nurture nurture yourself right now. Eat well, take vitamins, get exercise, rest when you can, keep reaching out to others as you do so well….do things that make you feel good as if your life depended on it. You have to counter all of this trauma and pain with self-nurturing so that ultimately you can come through this on the other end for your girls. You one day will be out of the forest and you will be able to see all of the trees. I promise you this.

  12. Liz December 28, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    Ooops….should have written you will get out of the trees and you will be able to see the forest (ie can’t see the forest though the trees). 😉

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