Thursday, December 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Tis the Season - For Sadness

This throwback is from December 9, 2009, the first time I wrote about "Blue Christmas".

Not everyone has a happy holiday season.

Now, our family (inlaws) has experienced holiday death in the family again. My brother in law's mother in law passed away a week ago Tuesday.   And my aunt (by marriage)'s sister died on Thanksgiving Day (November 26) .  So, I thought it would be timely to rerun this first Blue Christmas post.

I'm not even sure I will decorate.  I will certainly keep things simple.

My writing has become more polished over the years but I am not going to do any editing.  This voice from the past is speaking to me, and I hope its message will help some of my readers.

Tis the Season....for Sadness

Happy Holidays!

No, that's not true.

The holidays are not happy for everyone. 

11 years ago December 25.....  Spouse and I were at my in-laws on Christmas Day.  They live about 150 miles from where we live.  We had a nice day with other family members, and settled down to watch "It's a Wonderful Life"  with my mother in law and father in law.  Then we went to bed.

My father in law never woke up.  He died during the night of a massive heart attack, his third.

Imagine my mother in law, spending the day after Christmas arranging for the funeral of her husband of nearly 50 years.    The decisions that had to be made quickly, oh so quickly.  The little things, like flowers being almost impossible to come by (flowers being a part of their culture's funeral tradition).  Or us having to borrow clothes for the funeral-most people don't visit for Christmas with black clothes in their suitcase!  Those little details, in a sea of all the major details, on a holiday weekend.

The family gathered again but this time for a much sadder occasion.  Many people came to the funeral home, and it was a great comfort.  But then everyone had to go home, including us.

And then the next Christmas rolled around.  It was not easy.  But we survived, and each year it became easier.  My mother in law has established her independence, and enjoys Christmas with family.

It never goes away but it does become easier.  Although, I have never watched "It's a Wonderful Life" again.

Years ago I worked with someone whose husband died from cancer on Thanksgiving.  In my youth I couldn't understand why Thanksgiving was so hard for her.

Now I understand.

"Blue Christmas" is more than an Elvis song.  For those who have experienced loss:  loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, the holidays can be so hard to survive, even if you are not a Christian.  Whereever you go, you are surrounded by smiling Santa's, by holiday decorations, by endless carols blaring at work, at the supermarket, at the mall, by constant reminders that everyone is happy.  Except you.

But, you are not alone.  And you will get through it, although it may take a long time.

Time is your friend.  It was for me.  I hope it is for you.


  1. These kinds of anniversaries are hard. Harder when they hit during a "festive" time.

    1. They are...and I feel especially for my mother who also lost a sister during the Christmas season, two years ago.

  2. I'm sorry for your losses. I can relate to some sadness and loss on more than one Christmas. Fortunately this year is much better. I do hope you will be able to find some small amount of joy this Christmas.

  3. So sorry to hear that Alana especially the part where you lost your father in law, must have been tough. With holiday season even more so... but yes it goes for all things in life, every happy idea has shades of grey..

    1. It's so true, Richa. I feel badly for my mother in law. This has become a season of sorrow for her.

  4. You are not alone .... What a powerful phrase it was.

    We hope our Chennai will rock again with the help from many .... You are not alone.... True words ..... Thanks for your post ... :)

    1. If it wasn't for bloggers I read and our Wall Street Journal, I never would have known about the Chennai floods. My area of the United States suffered extensive flooding in 2011 but not quite like yours. You are not alone!

  5. I understand. My father was in the hospital during the High Holy Days, so we didn't celebrate th the holidays this year. And then he passed away. And Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have been bittersweet. We get through It, though.

  6. Thats true, even though it would be ideal for every holiday to be 'happy" that is not the reality of life.

  7. So sorry about your loss. I pray you'll find comfort and joy in the new year. Hugs.


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