Monday, December 17, 2007

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 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) 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 affect 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 Yr HmblScrb, 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:

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.


  1. I hear ya. I didn't see my (at the time) six year old between The Split, and my lease on the new apartment. Which were three very long, dark months. The food never did taste quite right and the air was never very fresh. Just a long case of the blahs.

    You'll be in our thoughts.

  2. The longer I live, the more I understand I'm not in control. Wishing and hoping does me good, making the best of what happens does.

  3. Uncle Buck,

    Remember, only three days til the Bowl season starts! Now THAT'S the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

    And remember that scene in Christmas Family Vacation where Clark asks his dad how he ever made it through all those Christmas's, classic answer.

  4. Ah, Lex the Word Man! "Memories kept like amber" - they are a light, but they are a reminder of what we don't have in the present. Would it have been better to not have those memories - I think not.

  5. This is not the best time of year for us to "take stock" of our lives and our places in it, is it? Dangerous to review those feelings - those desires and would have/could have/should haves. We all have our issues with the holidays. And the constant bombardment and over-commercialization really doesn't allow for anyone to just be left alone...

    I remember the first Christmas after my dad died - all I wanted was to retreat and be sad for him. And I couldn't - no one would leave me alone because everyone thought it was their responsibility to cheer me up. So I can related to the "leave me alone" feelings...and even though my dad has been gone for 12 Christmases now, that pain, that longing to be left alone - never goes away. I've just learned how to deal with it and channel it.

    That said - since you reference our best WordMan, Lex - I will take the liberty of pointing out that he too has his own pain to bear this Christmas - his sister died 2 years ago on Christmas Eve. So while he wants to catch moments like the one with The Kat "in amber", there are other moments captured that way that I'm sure he would not wish to remember.

    Like I said, we all have our burdens. And it's sharing them that helps us grow stronger and able to bear them easier with each passing year.

    Reflections by Kris

  6. Morgan: Thanks.

    Mushy said: Wishing and hoping does me good, making the best of what happens does.

    Is there a word missing in this sentence?

    Jay: Thanks for the LOL moment! You're absolutely correct on ALL counts..especially about the football! ;-)

    Lou said: Would it have been better to not have those memories - I think not.

    And I think you're right, Lou.

    Kris: Good words, and true. We DO seem to be able to figure out ways to muddle through...most of us.

  7. Even though you said this isn't a cry for sympathy, I can't help but sympathize for you. I shall cherish what I have today, because you never know when it will be gone tomorrow. And I hope you find some glimmer of happiness in these dark days before bowl season starts. ;o)

  8. Jenny sez: And I hope you find some glimmer of happiness in these dark days before bowl season starts. ;o)

    Thanks for the good thoughts, Jenny. The countdown to the Bowls is proceeding apace, and I'm finding enough weirdness on the 'net to keep me entertained. And less-than-depressed. ;-)

  9. Well just cowboy up, put on your big boy panties and stop whining. Better still, stop thinking.

    Yep, that's the sort of mindless happy horseshit I've heard ... so you stop saying anything.

    I remember my Dad dying the week before (the 17th) - just him and I alone in a snow blizzard. I remember my Mum dying the week after while I was there sicker than a dog with the flu, too. And those were nearly the more upbeat highlights from Christmases past. I can relate to your feelings.

  10. Wow, Lin. I can't believe someone... anyone... would be so damned insensitive as to give you the advice you've quoted in the face of the reality you've lived. Wait. I CAN believe it, after all.

    I hope this Christmas is good for you and the trying times are past. I say that with the understanding that some memories are pretty much permanent, and you can't wave the wand and make them disappear. One deals with them as best we can.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.