Happy Birthday, Jesus!

I’m home again and it’s Christmas Day.  We drove back from Miami and got home Monday night, rested up and unpacked Tuesday and then had Jake and Scout over for Christmas Eve.  I got Jake a cello and a bunch of odds and ends he wanted and a Wii system for Scout.  David got them notebook computers and phones.  They were thrilled and it made me feel good.   Stacy didn’t put up a tree or get them any presents at all.  She told them they might go out and pick up a couple of things after Christmas.  I don’t even want to go there.

My Christmas present to everyone was the cruise.  I paid for everything for all of us.  I thought it would be easier to get through the season if we had something special planned.  I had hoped it would ease the holidays for all of us.  I suppose it did.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  I really tried to be upbeat and fun but it was so difficult.  Donnie and I took the same cruise last November and, as with everything, I was constantly reminded of him everywhere we went.

I had prayed to ease Donnie’s suffering.  Asked God to ease his pain and let me take on the suffering.  I like to think that’s what happened.  Donnie passed away so quickly.  We were on a cruise in April, going out and doing things in May and June, and then he got weak and tired and died so quickly the first week of July.  I’m so grateful that he didn’t spend months and months lingering in pain.  I tell myself that I’m glad it’s me that has to bear so much pain and not him but I know, in my heart, that God doesn’t want me to suffer for the rest of my life.  I know Donnie wouldn’t want me to feel this way, either.

I wish I could pull out of this but I just don’t know how.  I look in the mirror and I don’t even recognize myself.  It looks like I’ve aged 20 years.  I tell myself that I have to work to be happy again and I really do try but there’s an underlying depression and sadness in me that underscores everything.  I know I’ll get better with time but I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person I was and I don’t like this new person very much.

I looked up a recipe for Christmas on here and when I entered the search words, it brought up some old posts.  I didn’t even recognize myself in them.  I was so happy and upbeat and fun.  I want to get back there so much.  I’m tired of having no drive or joy in my life anymore.  I made a commitment to myself that I’m going to start eating right and exercising tomorrow.  No sense in waiting for the new year because one day is just the same as the next.

I’m going back to the routine that used to work for me.  Writing down everything I eat and exercising every day.  Maybe changing myself for the better physically will help me change emotionally.

In previous years, I would have been shopping, decorating, cleaning and cooking for weeks leading up to today.  The tree would be up in the living room and it would feature special ornaments hand picked over a lifetime.  I’d unwrap an ornament and say, “Look!  Remember this one?  It’s the one we bought in Hawaii with Santa on a surfboard!” or, “Here’s the Grinch ornament that we got when the movie came out.”  When David was a toddler, he fell in love with a small stuffed Raggedy Ann that a friend had.  She stuck it in the tree at Christmas and it’s been a tradition to place Raggedy Ann in the tree each year.  David is 42 years old now, but he still looks for Raggedy Ann every year among the branches.

By now, the presents would be unwrapped and we’d be scrambling to get the mess cleaned up before hosting Christmas dinner for 14 to 20 family members.  I’d be preparing everyone’s favorites and trying to maintain my sanity while timing things so that 10 or 12 recipes get finished at approximately the same time so we could all sit down to eat.

Today is difficult.  It’s Christmas and it’s not like any Christmas we’ve ever had as a family.  Darryl is in North Carolina with friends for a month.  David is off but Stacy has the boys today.  There’s no one here but Andrew, Steven, David and me.  I didn’t put up the tree or any decorations.  Didn’t wrap any gifts.  Didn’t cook dinner and don’t plan to go anywhere for dinner.  I’m going to take Andrew and Steven over to their mother’s house in a little while. She has presents for them and she’s cooking a small dinner.  She invited David and I and I know we’re welcome but it hurt so much to be there for Thanksgiving that I don’t want to do it again.  I’ve always been the one to cook the big dinner and have everyone over and I didn’t do well with Thanksgiving over there.  It felt horrible. I felt useless and detached from the entire event.

Instead, friends have invited David and I to go to a movie this afternoon and then go over to their house for drinks and appetizers.  I know it’s not very Christmasy but it will get me through the day.  Maybe I’ll look back on this post next year and things will be so much better.  I hope so.

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