Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Christmas Emotions are Not Always Full of Cheer

So, have you ever talked to yourself on your way to work and said, “This is not a good time to be so emotional. You are going to smear your freshly applied makeup”? This was one of those mornings. Yes, it is a few days before Christmas and the world is decorated and full of cheer, but for me, the holiday has always been a mixture of emotions, not all of them good.

Christmas can be hard for many. In a time of year with everyone talking about family, friends, and togetherness, we tend to want to forget that there are those whose reality is loneliness and unmet expectations.

Just as luminaries shine brighter on the darkest night, losses glare when set against a backdrop of ‘Hallmark Christmas’ perfection. All that is not ‘right’ in your world becomes glaringly apparent. Maybe this year you are struggling with something putting a damper on your celebration. A divorce, a death of a loved one, or many other unanticipated events can do that. Maybe the source of your sense of unseasonal darkness stems from childhood distress or that fact that Christmas disappointments have always been your experience. The solace I can offer is that there is comfort knowing you are not alone and to encourage you to not assume that all those houses decorated with trees and lights are filled with people who would not understand your struggle. Many sing a Christmas carol while wiping a tear as I did this morning.   

This mixture of feelings is not a new thing for me. Three years ago in my memoir Leave Him? I wrote about how songs and Christmas traditions of the past swirl around creating a dizzying present-day Christmas. I’m not sure your past interacts with your present in the same way, but I am sure that someone will find some solace in reading my thoughts. Maybe that person will know they are not alone this Christmas. Here is the excerpt:


The warm water pelting the back of my head as the sounds of ‘Mary Did You Know’ set my mind to wandering. For a second I am riding in the passenger seat of the Explorer with a thirty-something-year-old Mark telling me how much he loved the song and how it perfectly tells the story of Christmas. The thought of riding in the car with him at Christmas instantly spun me back to a time ten years before that. Just as vividly, I see it all. We were riding in our Mazda, turning onto Miller Academy Road on the way to Mark’s parents’ Christmas dinner with the Alabama Christmas cassette playing. A tiny voice from the backseat started singing her favorite song, ‘A Candle in the Window.’
“And there’s a candle in the window, a flame against the night. The candle in the window, it’s like God’s perfect light…”
I turned around to see the sweet little face singing every word and it was almost as if she had a halo beaming over her strawberry blond hair. I touched my seven-month-pregnant-belly. All was well with the world, there really was peace.
The song ended and Mark said, “You want to sing ‘Thistlehair the Christmas bear’?”
I reached for the soap…and I saw another Mark, one I wanted to forget. His gaunt cheeks seemed to draw his face in, a face covered by an unkempt, long beard, and hollow, blank eyes showing that his soul left long ago.

Leave Him? (available at in print for $12.99 and Kindle for $2.99) Also available for local purchase in print at at Willis Jewelry Company located at 203 Adamson Square in Carrollton, Georgia, the Therapeutic Lair at 723 E. College Street in Bowdon, Georgia, on the square in downtown Newnan, Georgia in Gillyweeds at 21 W. Court Street, and at the Wildwood Charm shop at 315 S. Hamilton Street in Dalton, Georgia.

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