So it occurred to me today that it will be 20 years on October 4 since my paternal grandmother died. The following March will mark one year since Mom's passing and 35 years since her mother's death.
I pondered these events mostly because if I don't plan for the holidays now, we'll find ourselves at loose ends. For Thanksgiving, we're looking at buffets and restaurants in the area. If nothing else, Waffle House will be open. Thanksgiving was always a small affair, usually just the four of us. When the rest of the Norman Rockwell version of America is stacked 20 deep at Grandma's farmhouse, we always kept it simple. A few times we had family over or joined some friends but I loved our quiet Thanksgiving. This year, I don't know that I want to be here. We are thinking practically. A turkey for three people seems ludicrous. I will so miss Daddy and Mama's dressing but no need to make a huge pan of it for us. So.... What to do? I'm considering some options. Maybe rent a cabin in the mountains that weekend? Head to the beach? Not sure yet.
Christmas, on the other hand, has never been the same in 20 years. And for nearly that long, I've hated the holiday season. I thought last year was my absolute worst, as I wrestled with anxiety and depression unlike any I'd experienced in a number of years. And at this point in time.... well, honestly, outside Midnight Mass, I'd really rather not take part in any holiday festivities. I didn't feel like celebrating last year. I really don't feel like it right now for this year. I don't care if we ever put up a tree, decorate the house, or anything. I don't care.
I haven't cared for Christmas in years. Some of it is the loss I felt after Granny's death -- Christmas was always the time to get with the family and enjoy the day. We did one big gathering the Sunday after Christmas 1996 -- in fact, it's the first time I ever met my cousins Heather, Brandon, Krystle, and Danielle. But after that, a few hurt feelings and who knows what else ..... And we've never met at Christmas since. To be fair, everyone has families of their own and getting as many together as possible is difficult. So I get it -- it isn't an easy task.
And this is not what my mother would want. She adored Christmas and was forever baffled by our lack of enthusiasm. "Your granddad loved Christmas," she'd tell us. I'm glad, Mom, I'd think, but he isn't here so.... And this year, she isn't either. It is going to be so weird. No one telling us "Come open presents, come on, get up and get going. I'll never understand why y'all don't love Christmas."
I can't explain it either. I just don't. And this year, even less so.