I think I forgot how to “do” Christmas.
Seriously, this year just does not seem “Christmas-y” at all, and it is less than two weeks away.
Perhaps it is because I am out of practice?
After two years of being in hospitals, maybe my holiday capabilities are just not there anymore?
But if I was being honest with myself, holidays for the past six or seven years really haven’t felt like celebrations, and it has been slowly progressing to get worse.
Let’s go back to my junior year of high school.
December started out fabulously! My entire mom’s side of the family (nearly 20 of us!!) went to Disney World and had an amazing time enjoying the decorations, specialty treats, and overall time together.
When we got home there were only a few short weeks until Christmas break and my mom and I were busy baking, preparing the house, wrapping gifts; all the fun stuff that I always loved to help with as a child.
When the “big day” finally arrived and our family gathered at my home, as we traditionally did, everything was PERFECT. The only thing a little off was my grandmother being sick.
She had a sinus infection and was just tired, which did not permit the same participation as I was used to with my beloved Mimi.
We urged her to go home and head straight to bed because her cough continued to get worse and things just didn’t seem right.
What was even more odd, was that we did not hear from her for the next three days.
You have to understand; my Mimi and mom were both single, and so we were all together, literally, every few days. It was weird that she didn’t call if she needed help, or just stop by like she always did.
Since I had just gotten my driver’s license, and the family as a whole was starting to get worried, my Uncle and I decided to go check on her at her home.
Her car was there on a weekday…
…Strange because she worked a normal week, Monday through Friday, in a law office.
She was probably just home sick again, right?
She had actually passed away Christmas night when she got home, and we were only realizing it a few days later.
From that year on, no one really got together anymore at Christmas, nor was anyone as cheerful.
There were no more large family gatherings with a traditional dinner.
The spirit just kind of dwindled and continued to disintegrate as time passed.
Now, it’s barely even there.
My mom and dad both live in NJ with their significant others’. My aunt and uncle don’t really associate with my mom anymore, and the rest of the old bunch is only seen a few times a year.
Ryan’s family has been great, and totally accepted me into their traditions, but it just does not feel the same.
As you all know, I do not do well with change, but I am working on trying to get back that old Christmas spark I used to know and love.
I don’t mean to write such a morbid story during the holidays.
Honestly, I had no intent on doing so until yesterday when Ryan pointed out that November and December are notoriously my worst months as far as falling off the recovery wagon, and maybe what I mentioned above, is partially why.
I haven’t really thought about it until now, and I never even grieved over the passing of my grandma, so maybe that is why we have had to be extra cautious these last few weeks when I have had terrible body image issues, and at some points really wanted to quit doing the right thing.
A lack of acceptance, or feeling a hardship, was always a major cause to my ED.
I hated any form of negative emotions and I did my best to avoid them at all costs, which often meant “numbing out” through excessive exercise or deprivation of nutrients, but this year I am going to do better.
There are many many reasons I have to celebrate, and although I do not always believe it, I deserve a Christmas cookie sometimes too.
I deserve to cry if something makes me sad.
And I certainly deserve a better holiday than I had the last two years.
And I deserve to have an amazing Christmas, regardless of the circumstances.
So do you….remember that, because I know especially at this time of year, taking care of yourself can easily be forgotten.