I don’t write this just for me, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind. For most people holidays generally suck to varying degrees. Think about it…I bet almost all of you have at least once realized how little you enjoy the whole thing due to the stress of it. Stress of doing what everyone else but you wants to do, stress of visiting family or having them visit you, cooking, cleaning, buying a gift and Oh! Will they like it? Perhaps decorating, or even taking them down. And of course, I’m going to call dibs on the shittiest holiday experiences of all – having to endure the endless barrage of happy holiday bullshit when you are minus the only thing that really matters, which is your loved one.
Yeah, I used to be irritated at the pressure society, the media, and the people who sell stuff put on me and everyone else regarding holidays. In days past holidays were really more like “holy” days to honor one or more gods and to thank them for the bounty (whether it be life or nourishment) that they had bestowed in the previous year, and of course to ask for it to continue the following year. I suppose that’s a little stress, but it couldn’t have been anything like what we experience today. I had begged Shaun in the past few years to leave and vacation for Thanksgiving instead of what we had done in years past. I didn’t enjoy it and really no one did, but it was “what we had always done.” I told him to invite the others, let’s just do something enjoyable. But we held it together for Erin’s sake because she wouldn’t have liked it if her special people weren’t there.
Oddly enough, her illness and all of the events leading to her death, as well as my brother in law Greg’s death, and my mother’s death, successfully ruined every day marked by our society as special. That includes birthdays and anniversaries. Maybe it was a blessing, releasing us from any perceived obligation to continue this sort of thing with anyone else ever. But the flip side of it is that we are very painfully aware that others are enjoying time with their families (even if they are stressed out to the max!) on these days, and that the one person who we loved more than each other is not with us. It honestly makes me want to be a hermit in a cave, maybe somewhere in Tibet where I will never see anyone again except for some smiling but silent monks.
Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. We never knew that 17 years later we would be in the hospital with our seriously ill child, or that Greg would be recently dead, or what was in store for us in just a few months. We didn’t get to celebrate our anniversary, or Mother’s Day, and our plan was to lump it all in with my birthday in August and do something we all enjoyed. But you all know, Erin was dead by then and her memorial service was on my birthday.
I guess the good news is that I no longer buy into the hype. But I wish that I had enjoyed the holidays that I did have with her more. I wish that we had done what we all wanted to do instead of what other people, even family, wanted us to do.
Today I admit that I am bitter. But thank you to everyone who reached out and thought of me yesterday. It made the bitter pill a little easier to swallow.
Namaste and always #missingerin