That Not So Christmasy Feeling
Now that soccer season is officially over for my son (they took 1st in league for their division).
Now that my wife is finally done with school. I'm so proud of her.
Now that the baby isn't as high maintenance as he was six months ago.
Now that school is out for two weeks and the house is clean, the laundry done for the most part.
The lawn is mowed.
The Christmas lights hung and the decorating done.
I have time to sit and think. Always a dangerous enterprise. This is the first Christmas since my mother died and I'm not very sure how I should be feeling. The fact of the matter is, I'm not sure I miss her in the way I should. Let me clarify. I don't miss the nightmare of the last four years of her life. The pain and suffering. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, see my previous post on the topic.
This is the first Christmas in years where I'm not feeling guilty for taking my family to my in-laws to enjoy a healthy holiday experience. I'm not worrying if she is cold or warm. Did she take the right medication at the right time? Is my brother yelling at her? Is it nice and quiet? Is she in a lot of pain? Did someone change her sheets? I really don't know what to do with this emotional energy I used to direct at such matters. It is almost as if I'm having to re-learn how to live certain aspects and occassions of my life.
I feel this incredible sense of guilt for not missing her. There is almost an absence of emotion. Until I have the time to sit and think.
I miss the mother of my childhood. In spite of the dysfunction, and there was plenty of it, I miss that maternal figure. My mother loved to cook when she was in good health. When I was a kid I could come home after school the week before Christmas break and there always seemed to be something new she had baked that day. The aroma of freshly made spaghetti sauce and lasagna saturated every room in our apartment during this time of year. It was the only time of the year when the chaos of living there seemed to diminish. I miss that. I miss the role she played. Everyone in our family tried harder during those times, however brief they were.
Then, when I play back the last years of her life in my mind, I can only feel sadness. Sadness and regret for all that I did not do. Pain for her suffering and mental confusion. Anger at myself for being so selfish. The memories of my youth are washed out by my recollections of her illness. The delight I find in remembering good Christmases as a child are replaced with reminding myself that she spent the last Christmas of her life in a hospital bed.
Would'nt it be great if they was an 'undo' button in life, like so many Microsoft applications?
What would I do differently? I don't know. I don't want to forget her. But remembering seems so damn painful and gut wrenching at times. I know I must find a way to balance my memories and be glad that she is no longer in pain, but with her Savior and Lord.
Perhaps that is where I can start. If not for His coming into the world, her suffering would continue. My first Christmas without her is her first in the presence of Him whose birth we celebrate. I wonder what Christmas is like in Heaven??
If you are still reading, thanks. Peace and good cheer to all.