So many emotions swirl during the holidays, reminiscing, thinking of those gone, those here that I’ve lost closeness with, those here that relationships have improved greatly…so much to be thankful for.
Yet it is easy to allow nostalgia to take me down… if I let it. It’s a choice. I found myself feeling down seeing how Samuel’s brothers called him and they chatted happily. And two of Samuel’s friends dropped by.
I said out loud to Samuel, “No one called me!” already regretting it as it made it feel more real.
He responded, “Well, you did what made you feel right about things. The ball is in their court,” referring to cards I sent.
“Yes, the ball stays there,” adding, “Not one of my brothers wished me Merry Christmas.”
But did I really want to go there? On Christmas day the old clock in the living room began tolling. It hasn’t in years. And it has rung ever since. I feel like Scrooge waking on Christmas day renewed. I can choose.
Of course I want family. I want at least to have it be alright and amiable even if not close. I feel that has been achieved. Being part of a Clan goes back to Cavemen days. To survive you have to be in a group. Those needs don’t seem to change but one can be a part of a group of their choosing to support and be supported by.
No amount of wishing will go back and give to each of eight children the love, care and attention desperately needed. Not one had it easy and it makes me sad. It wasn’t my doing, it just was. I can choose to live for now knowing now is limited and to make each day the best I can. And not so much about what you failed to give me but what might I offer you.
Santa bought me a new camera…
The candles are lit, table set, kitsch in the oven and all the healthy whole wheat muffins are made, chocolate chips included. Plump stockings sit upon the presents under the tree and I rock quietly appreciating my efforts and the quiet before the storm; the storm being my son Shane, his wife, William, 7, and Cindy who is just 4.
The kids are at a perfect time for Christmas, surprises, magic and Santa, delighting my inner child with their happiness and sparkly eyes.
We celebrate today and tomorrow is for recovery!
You go through life believing you’re not worth much, not fit for living really. But Grace intervenes and eyes open to the truth of one’s reality. You are loved. You are worthy. You matter.
Do I cry because it has taken so long to get here, or because I am finally here. It doesn’t matter. When tears come, let them, it is always a good thing.
“What is Real?” the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse.
Several days of do, do, do, and nights that match waking at 2:30 AM feeling anxious as if I need to get up and do something or else. Or else what? I felt tipped to the edge. Sometimes doing more than my body has energy for takes me past tired to a scary place where I fear each moment. Add lack of sleep and an entire outlook on life becomes dreary and down.
The next day I uncharacteristically went to my room and napped. Then rested after that not doing much. I had a little more sleep the next night but still not enough. I rested most of the day if you don’t include the hour in a tight little room with 40 other parents listening to Cindy’s pre-K class sing three Christmas songs then frost Christmas cookies for their guests. What a delight and the stifling heat didn’t diminish my joy or her exuberance. Samuel and Cindy’s other Grandma came too.
After that I just laughed at Cindy while she twirled and played in our living room while we awaited her Mother’s arrival. Her favorite game is pretending to be a kitty so she curls up next me while I pet her. After she left I put on my favorite Christmas movies which are child-like with their magic reindeer dust and miracles. I let myself have this time and my body driven to the edge needed it. I let the dishes stay in the sink and the laundry wait.
Last night I slept, wonder upon wonders. I lose sight of how years of PTSD has stressed my body because no one in the family admitted my challenges so it was if I didn’t have them. I don’t want to have them. Now with an older body needing care I cannot ignore it because when I do I become sick easily and fast. When I push, my body pushes back in protest and it can take days to recover. I would not choose this, yet I also know my body takes energy to keep some memories from my conscious mind even now. That leaves less energy elsewhere.
Kindness to self, all else flows from there. I smile more, a real smile.
The aloneness of abuse may be one of the hardest. It is not a ‘lonely’ like others, it is a scratching and clawing on internal walls aching for relief, making one’s spirit wanting to split from the body and it’s feelings.
Run. Get away from the feeling but where do I go? I lean on others and thankfully that got me through for many years until it was time to stop. With nowhere else to go but into the pain I ventured with curiosity and patience as it all came up, the sadness, pain and joy.
It was all there locked below. And I couldn’t know me or find me because I had been locked down as a child, surrendered to the will of the ‘family’ who was ashamed of their own who would do such things. So silence the child because no one should know of our shame. So she shall be ashamed. It is what will keep her silent.
It is also what will keep her from herself with no real friend because she is not her own. She is alone. It looks like she is in a family, but she is alone adrift from even herself.
And will she ever find ‘her’? Will she ever stop the harsh judging her family cast upon her that she then took upon herself? Will she ever love? Will she ever feel warmth, kindness, openness and safety? Will peace enter within where she is jailed and set her free?
Dedicated to Alice…
With glee I surrendered to the joy! My daughter-in-law made the walls and roofs for each of us to make a gingerbread house complete with bowls of various candies and gobs of delicious gluey frosting. Fingers make great paintbrushes and mortar applicators.
With gentle Christmas music in the background and delightful laughter at the table we cemented our aromatic ginger scented houses together applying as much of the candy that could be attached. Trees, sidewalks, snowman, one made a wishing well, another a sleigh with Santa, even chimneys appeared!
Upon completion of our wintery scenes one could imagine walking up the path to the door breaking off an icicle to eat…I felt joyful as childish laughter swelled up freely. My funny mess of house made me happy.
Samuel beat me to day three’s shoveling which is just as well because many more inches fell overnight. While he was snow-blowing I pulled on my snow pants and boots, along with a scarf tightly wrapped. Grabbing a shovel I scraped the back steps, fed the birds, then made my way through the thick snow just as the clouds began to separate and the sun peeked out.
Since I had been shoveling the driveway the last two days I hadn’t walked the meadow. It was slow going. My heart thumped so loudly I stopped, stood still and turned my face to the sun breathing in the frigid crisp air. Diamonds glittered across the fields, individual snowflakes that made a canvas of white shimmery sparkles.
I kept trudging making a path. On each lap I rested by the creek to let my pounding heart slow down. Closing my eyes I listened to the silence. The sun quenched my starving spirit, and the ‘sounds of silence’ filled me.