Sorrow During the Holidays Can Become Joy!!

sorrow at the holidays

Weeping Woman by Vincent van Gogh

I know you all don’t know my family, and cannot relate to the names in this post. I am posting this more for my own benefit, than yours, but hope at least that it spurs you on to try and think like a person looking back in their life, trying to find the good things that happened, not as a person who is currently going through the crucible we call the holidays!

Sorrow during the holidays is an issue common to all in the human race. Loneliness is a big cause of depression, and is especially difficult at these times. These are issues I deal with as each holiday of the year rolls around.

I really miss not being in touch with family at the holidays. Most of the members of my family are so toxic, I have had to make the long-past decision to curtail any contact with them.

There is blessing in the long, long silence, however. It is amazing the treasures that reflection will bring to me, if only I remain quiet long enough for the process to work.

Some years ago, I was able to track down the whereabouts of some of the family members that my mother had removed from our social circle growing up. She was a very wounded person, who only felt safe by exerting a super-human amount of control on her surroundings. She walked through life with “Shields Up”. If she ever felt offended by a person, or threatened, they were immediately removed from her life. One by one, I saw the people in my life disappear, until I was age 16, when she had run off my father, my siblings and all of our extended family. You could say that I lived in the incredible shrinking family.

Today, I received an email from my cousin, Karen. She was one of two family members that have tried to keep up the re-connection since I found them. I had been thinking about her a lot lately. Imagine my happiness when she emailed me! She wanted my address, but here is what she got instead…

“Hi, there!! I have been thinking about you so much lately. Glad you emailed. I need to call you and get caught up.

I really miss not being in touch with family at the holidays. Remember our crazy family get-togethers of old? Don’t miss all the craziness, but the parts that made me feel warm, excited, included, and happy. I miss watching Lu pour cream in her coffee and watching the swirling caramel colors as she stirred it. Or having her take me by the hand into her kitchen and talk about her latest cooking achievement. (Who knew then that I would love cooking as much as I do? Maybe she instilled that in me.)

I miss, in a kooky way, watching them all smoke like fiends, or playing cards for hours. I miss seeing my cousins, who always seemed more sophisticated and mature than me. LOL

Karen, I miss going in the basement of your dad’s house and playing on the xylophone. Big tradition for me growing up. Your family always seemed kind of mysterious and fabulous to me. So far apart from my own torn childhood. I loved just being “around” it all.

I remember seeing your mom, Junie, and Brian, and of course, my Grandma Ruth. She was always so sweet to me. Cannot ever forget Mager and Popo.

Bet you didn’t expect such a sentimental response, huh?”

Karen proceeded to thank me and recount her own memories of those times, even how glamorous my mother was. And she was. A dichotomy in so many ways.

But there are treasures there. Many treasures. Jewels that I can add to the necklace of life that hangs around my neck, reminding me, that even in the worst of times, good things are happening. Things to rejoice over!!

Rejoice with me, this holiday season, and pluck some jewels from the memories of your life, and add them to the necklace you wear!!

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4 Responses to Sorrow During the Holidays Can Become Joy!!

  1. Erika says:

    Beautiful sentiment to life…your wisdom is wonderful and taken to heart!! I too have the jewels to pick out of the dung.

  2. I guess I’m still working on the jewels part…but I definitely understand the rest of your post. Blessings and hugs as we go through the holiday season.

    • Holly Nelson says:

      Erika, dear sister, yes, we both have to be pickers, don’t we. The great thing is that we DO have a choice in the matter. Choice is everything, especially when you consider the dear little children in CT that didn’t have a choice to exercise.

    • Holly Nelson says:

      Dawn, I understand. I am 52 and it has taken a lot of peeling back the onion layers to get to this point. Little by little as my heart opened by up and took emotional risks was I able to see the good with the bad, and the longer I have gone, the more good I see. It was like finding a gold ring at the bottom of a pile of manure, after scooping and scooping. I went for years truly believing that there were only BAD things that happened to me. I now realize that it was only safe to entertain bad memories. To entertain the good, felt, at first, as though I was okay with the bad things that happened. I now realize that it is okay and safe to acknowledge both. That doesn’t mean “forgive and forget”. It just means, I can open myself to joy. There are always moments of joy, even for the prisoner in a Nazi War Camp. When your mind feels safe again, it too will remember and you will feel the joy.

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