Grab Bag: The Sadder Side of Christmas
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!
[Note: Portions of this post appeared in a post that originally ran during the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories in December 2009]
Unfortunately, not all of my memories of the Christmas season are happy ones or the kind you see advertised on television specials and commercials. Over the years, my family has experienced some sad and tragic moments that inevitably give me pause for reflection amidst the celebration.
My maternal grandmother passed away four days after Christmas in 1984. She was in the hospital during Christmas, which was very sad for all of us because she was the glue in our family–her love and generosity were immeasurable and she passed on the Slovak traditions we all still cherish so much. Although she was very ill, we all believe she held on until after Christmas because she wanted us all to be together and enjoy the day. Christmases were never the same after she passed away.
Then, my father’s sister, my Auntie Sr. Camilla, passed away in December 1986 and my father and aunt had to fly to Texas to attend her funeral. She was a Roman Catholic nun and died in the Mother House at Victoria. It was too expensive for all of us to go. Another sad Christmas.
In 1990, my cousin’s husband died on Christmas Day. He was in a car accident a couple of weeks before Christmas. This was a very difficult time for the family.
Finally, in 1992, my father suffered a stroke on Christmas Day. He was very lucky because he survived and save for minor coordination issues and loss of his peripheral vision on one side, made a full recovery. I will never forget how empty I felt, and how my mother and I took turns comforting one another in the emergency room that Christmas Day. I always think about Dad on Christmas, and, this year will be the fourth one without him. Hard to believe.
So, it’s difficult to be 100% joyful at Christmas, and experiencing the losses somehow keeps me tempered when it comes to the whole celebration aspect, but it also makes me appreciate my family so much more and truly remember what the season is really supposed to be about and not focus too much on the gifts, the parties, the trees, etc.
Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved