Living Out Loud

Ho Ho Ho, or Ho-hum?


I love Christmas, and usually look forward to all of the beautiful lights and celebrations. But this year? Not so much. This year I am without Zelma, my beloved mother-in-law. Zelma’s birthday is actually December 24 and for almost 28 years, my daughters and I has been spent the holidays with Zelma. Like many of you, I am facing the holidays with bitter-sweet memories of past Christmas’s without a much loved family member.

For many people, Christmas is one of the happiest times of the year. I can certainly see why with friends and family coming together. There is the excitement of giving and receiving gifts. There are festive parties, school programs, and parades, so many other things that are supposed to "make the season bright." I hope you're one of those people that truly enjoys Christmas, but this year I am not exactly full of Christmas cheer. I am not a Grinch or even a Scrooge, I am one of the millions of people in this country that dealing with depression this season. To be honest, I have faced this depression for years, since my mid-30s, I am 52, so every day I have made a choice to put on my “face” and deal with life on life’s terms.

It doesn't make me special, it is simply who you would find if you could look behind my eyes. If I had a dollar for every person who in my life told me to "just cheer up it’s Christmas," I'd be writing to you from a Hawaii with a beachfront view and I'd still be just as sad. I do wish for you all the happiness of the season. As for me, I will keep trying to find my "happy place." I'd really like to find it and stay in it because it sure looks like a lovely place to be from the window that I am looking through. Christmas feeling is often lost with everyone rushing around with their own pre-Christmas deadlines and where, regardless of Christmas with a difference your religious affiliations, the end of year madness is making us lose the feeling of what is the essence of Christmas. Presents, food and cards are not what makes Christmas. Togetherness, reflection and a feeling of peace should surround this special time of year. That Christmas feeling of tingling excitement and pure childhood joy seems to have gotten lost for so many of us. “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” - Ruth Carter Stapleton

Writing has been a part of my life since grade school, from countless diaries to essays, short stories and yes, newspaper columns. Facing my fears, my depression has been made more bearable since I write them down. I write and let go. My frustrations slip away with every paragraph. I decide to be more out-going, get out more even when I rather be at home alone. I go look at Christmas lights, take up a friend’s offer for dinner and drinks and yes, even face the crowded malls. I will still tear up hearing the Eagles sing “Please Come Home For Christmas” but this writer wishes you all a peaceful Merry Christmas and may the season brings each of you the gift of love, laughter and joy.