Sunday, December 30, 2012

The lights are still up

It's traditional for us to take down the Christmas lights and tree on New Year's Day.  I will miss the lights and the tree, but I have to say that I'm glad Christmas is over.  It was relatively free of pain, except for Christmas day. 

On Christmas morning, we fixed a nice breakfast and my wife unwrapped her gifts.  I surprised her with a few things this year, even though we had agreed not to buy each other anything. I simply had to get her some things for her stocking and a few other odds and ends.  All of that was happy.  

The sad part came when we visited her parents.  Her mother didn't recognize either of us.  She talked a bit but was pretty much focused on not eating her lunch.  We didn't stay long.  Then we drove to the nursing home to visit C.'s dad.  He was in bed and wasn't feeling well.  So we left his presents there for him. 

No matter how hard I try, the expectation of Christmas day seems to get to me.  Both of us were sad about the parents.  We know that there is nothing that can be done, but it is still hard to see them in such decline.  On Christmas night, I felt so very sad.  

I thought about my parents who were married near Christmas.  And that my mother used to show me an old perfume bottle that held Nuit de Noel (Christmas Night) which was a gift from my father to her.  I had thoughts of my parents, missing them, and wondering what it is like to be over 90 years old, sick in body and demented as my wife's parents are.  And I wondered how I would get through hosting a party the next day.  

Even though the day after Christmas was rainy and windy,  both of us felt better as if the weight of previous day was past. By the afternoon, the rain had stopped,  and the day turned clear and sunny.  We had a great time at the party, enjoyed seeing others have a good time, and were happy for so many friends in recovery.  I think that filling the house with people is a good idea.  Their presence chases away the memories of past Christmases that this year seem too much.  

So on this eve of New Year's eve,  I feel content.  The lights are still up.  It's cold outside but a warm fire is burning in the house.   I have had a good weekend of reading and relaxing. I went to a couple of meetings, including an open AA speaker meeting.  I feel back in balance.  

One of the important things that I've learned in recovery is that if I feel sad, I can share it because someone out there will know exactly what I am talking about and will be feeling just as sad/lost/alone as I do.  The friends that I have now were strangers to me at one time.  Who knows what friends I will have tomorrow.   


  1. My heart and thoughts are with you, friend. Lets make it into the New Year intact, shall we?

  2. I'm sorry about C's parents. It is sad to watch someone we love's life wind down. I know eactly what you mean about despite your best efforts Christmas expectations still trip you up. Yes, I get that. And I just have to say that that foyer and tree really does look like something that would belong to someone who is secretly famous. ; )
    Much love and many blessings to you and C, Syd.

  3. Funny how many expectations are attached to Christmas. For me, they are mostly from my childhood which is compounded when our parents are no longer as they once were for us. Here's to a happy new year. =)

  4. I'm sorry your Christmas was mostly sad. The holidays are difficult for many people, so I'm glad you found a way to not linger in the pain by sharing your feelings and your life.

    I have to say, I love the floor in your foyer!

  5. man, i am sorry...what a rough christmas day...glad you can go into the new year content...we just put up christmas today here....

  6. Thank you for sharing your Christmas experiences.

  7. Knowing the rooms are there for me gives me a feeling of security. I like what you mentioned balance...and the friendships that we gain with the fellowship.

  8. The photos are gorgeous! Your friends must have enjoyed your hospitality and the beauty of your home. I have felt at times that I am moving back and forth from the past to the future. I love the optimism of youth, but I feel I have a duty to the past.

  9. Despite a really beautiful Christmas with my husband and kids and grandboys, the annual rage and suicidal thoughts came over me so strongly on Christmas afternoon. I really could have burned down the house and danced in the ashes.
    It passed.
    It surprised me though, with its force and its fierceness. Absolutely shocked me. I didn't experience it last year in Mexico and thought I was done with it forever.
    Ah well. We live on. And we brighten.

  10. Syd, just wanted to come out of lurking to thank you for all the comfort ... and challenges ... your blog and words have given me this year. Loving an alcoholic takes a strength that I find is helped when I attend meetings and read the words other al-anon "friends" share. I find that for me, Christmas expectations are just like my expectations for my alcoholic ... disappointments waiting to happen. So for the holidays, I work hard and find what joy I can in the unexpected ... seeing my grandmother hold her great, great granddaughter; driving by a house with beautiful lights; looking up into a clear, star-filled sky; even singing a beautiful Christmas song at a funeral the day after Christmas, celebrating a life long- and well-lived. Thank you for your exhortations to enjoy every day life. Happy New Year!
    from, Piedmont Girl

  11. Thanks for sharing. Your story of C's parents reminds me that we are all just waiting to die. Peace

  12. My Al Anon meetings are on Tuesday and since last week Christmas was on a Tuesday I missed it. I considered going but that would have entailed leaving just when dessert was being served and I was also visiting with cousins that I had not seen in ages.

    As for your in-laws. It is OK to feel sad. I am taking my palliative accreditation and grief is a very real process that people go through when a loved one has dementia. You are losing them in bits and pieces. Just when you get used to one stage, WHAM! you lose yet another part of the. You don't need to try to feel better or come to terms with it. It is grief, pure and simple.

  13. dad is in decline and early stages of Dementia with Late stage Parkinsons. I feel so much for you and C. It's hard to feel upbeat when her parents are just not there. It's really rough emotionally and this awful roller coaster of sadness, frustration, anger and resentment.

    I want to add how much I appreciate your commitment to blogging. I don't always comment but read you faithfully. You are a blessing to us out here with your heart and dedication.

    Hugs and love.

  14. O if there were more folk like you Syd . . . Bless your lovely heart and A Happy New Year to you and C x

  15. Happy 2012's end, Syd!

    I was so touched with your story about the decline of the in-laws, that I began thinking of the 20 years that both of my parents died within 1 year of each other. My brother frequently sends me e-mails (spam) just as a means of keeping in touch when he does not know what to say, but one he sent on Christmas really got to me. It was a message from my parents, saying, 'don't worry about us; we're going to spend Christmas with Jesus this year!' I really hesitate in writing 'religious' implications; but this one never crossed my mind to consider, and it was very very special. I had a peaceful Christmas this year, and New Year's is rapidly encroaching.

    I just wanted to jump in here briefly to wish you and those you love a peaceful and bountiful New Year 2013! May our Higher Power keep you both in His hands.

    Love and Hugs,
    Anonymous #1

  16. I'm sorry sadness touched you on Christmas. Glad you were able to fill your home with friends and recovery to try to help you both heal. Wishing you a wonderful Happy New Year! Hugs


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