Friday, December 24, 2010

Why I hate Christmas and all major holidays

I am not a Scrooge or a Grinch, really I am not. I lost my love of Christmas not long after I became an adult. At first I think I was appalled at the commercialization of what I saw as a spiritual event. But, back then I was a “re-born” Christian making everyone around me miserable as I tried desperately to save their souls. I was so bad that my Mom thought I had joined a cult and it drove her to her priest. Oddly enough, she became stronger in her faith as a result and I fell away.

In the later years, Christmas became hard because I was alone. I had never found that significant special someone to share it with. I had no family of my own. My siblings began to drift away from a huge family Christmas and instead everyone celebrated individually. But, I always had my parents and when I could I would share it with them at the farm. Back then I loved the snow. They had acres of woods to wander and I loved tromping through with my camera. Many times, mine were the first footsteps on a sea of white. But like all things, that changed too.
Five years ago, I lost my Dad to cancer. I still went down to be with my Mom at Christmas. As much as it was still so I would not be alone, it was also so she would not. The first Christmas was hard. Dad’s death was still too fresh and emotionally, I was a wreck. The second not so much, but I was concerned more about my Mom’s ability to take care of herself. She had just turned 90 a week before Christmas. I joked with her on that birthday and asked her if she was going to try for 100. I was surprised when without hesitation and with certain vehemence she responded,“No!”That year was to be our last at the farm together.

Several weeks after Christmas she fell ill with an infection that weakened her considerably. She never regained her strength and never returned home to the farm. Her home now is a nursing home where she is well cared for. But the loss of her independence nearly killed her that year. She would not accept that she would never go home and was very depressed.

I thought for sure I would lose her and remember how hard Mother’s Day was that year. It was the first time I began to think, this could be the last time I celebrate it with her. Now the thought creeps in every year on all of the holidays and special days, this could be the last.

A year ago I was frantic on Christmas Eve. A winter’s storm stopped me from going. It is a short two hour trip, but in bad weather, it can be treacherous. I felt terrible about it and again worried again that it might be the last. But, it wasn’t.
All this week I have watched the weather. I have worried that the California storms would move east and north and would wreck my plans. But, the forecasters assured that there would only be flurries and travel would not be a problem. Yesterday at work I watched the snow fall. It was much more than flurries. I cleared at least 3 inches from my vehicle. At 10 pm it was falling at an inch an hour.

This morning it is still falling. It doesn’t look bad from here, but I know from experience that it will be worse outstate in southern Minnesota where I will be traveling. That part of the state had the heavier part of the storm and even though the snow is supposed to stop around noon, the roads may not be plowed well. So I am changing my plans and will drive down tomorrow. Hopefully, conditions will be improved.

I will be happy to spend Christmas Day at the nursing home with Mom. They actually put out an excellent meal. But, I know the thought will always be there. This could be the last.

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