I've published this post twice before... originally in 2007 and again in 2009. So, for what it's worth: Dark Days.
This is a hard post to write… mainly because it will be perceived by some as whinging, although it is most assuredly not that. This is also neither a “cry for sympathy” nor a plea for “I feel your pain” sorts of comments.
It simply is what it is: a statement of fact. Some of us get depressed during the holidays. A lot of us, as it turns out. Google it if you don’t believe me… you’ll get about 133,000 hits (ed: 265,000 in 2009, 1,230,000 in 2013) on the subject. The search term I’ve offered up is just one variation on many potential search terms, as Google will kindly suggest other terms that yield even MORE hits. A Google blog-search, on the other hand, yields significantly less returns (approx. 11,774; 26,900 in 2013) and the great majority of those links have to do with the ins-and-outs of “beating” or otherwise curing the depression. Precious few accounts exist of living with it, but I only went four pages deep into the blog links. This is something we rarely discuss in the first-person, mainly because it’s uncomfortable for us (both of us: sender and recipient) to do so and, ultimately, it IS the holidays, after all. We should all be decking the halls and such. This isn’t the time to be unhappy. Quite the contrary: tis the season to be jolly!
What set me off down this lil path was reading Lex’s “tidings of comfort and joy,” which had something of an opposite effect on YrHmblScrb. On the one hand, I can SO relate to Lex’s tale of domestic bliss, the joys of tree shopping, tree-decorating, and holiday familial togetherness, because, well… I’ve had my share. But the hand I’m currently playing is completely lacking in these simple joys and I wish it were not so. Emphatically.
Christmas, to me, is all about the kids… and the grand-kids. Speaking as a father of a ten year old, it pains me greatly not to share Christmas with my youngest son as it “should be,” which is to say: as a family. I’m also reminded that, as the patriarch of what is becoming a rather large extended family, Christmas would likely as not be celebrated in my home with said extended family if things had worked out in the manner I wish(ed). But as you can well imagine, Gentle Reader, it does one absolutely no good… no good at all… to wish for things that can never be. Still and even: how do you block these thoughts, exposed as we all are to “tidings of comfort and joy” at this time of year… whether it’s in a blog post, a stroll through the mall (enduring the never-ending, sotto voce [or louder] Christmas carol Muzak), or in the messages that bombard us 7x24 on the small screen? Answer: you pretty much can’t.
So. We endure, those of us so afflicted. We smile, we wish our friends “Merry Christmas,” we go on about our lives as best we can, we conceal the sadness beneath the surface of our merry faces. And a great many of us wish nothing more than to be left alone during this time. It is a true fact (to YrHmblScrb, at least) that happiness experienced during the holidays cannot be shared unless both parties are of a like-mind. It does me no good to be wrapped in the warm embrace of another’s good cheer if I’m not feeling it. Selfish? Perhaps. But once again, Gentle Reader, it is what it IS. And no amount of effort on your or any other sentient being’s part will change it. Best just to leave it alone. Because in the end the sadness passes along with the holidays… for most of us, at least.
I’m done unburdening. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas… and I mean it. Consider yourself blessed if you’re having happy holidays. As Lex suggested:
This year marks the second Christmas the LeFon family is without their husband and father. I hope their memories are preserved in amber and give them comfort during the season.Another one of those moments, another of those days that I would have preserved in amber if I could, and kept someplace safe. To bring it out like the phial of Galadriel - to be a light for me in dark places, when all other lights go out.