It's a situation we all face eventually, even if the loss doesn't happen during the holidays. And of course, the struggle is real that first Christmas after a loss. But what do you do that next year? This is a question Rick and I are facing now, a year after Chloe passed. And my solution is that you take it in moderation.
It actually started when I was unpacking the Christmas decorations last weekend. I shouldn't have been surprised to find that I wasn't as careful or diligent in packing them away last year as usual - obviously, I was upset and just wanted all of the stuff down, out of the house, and to get back to some version of normal. Unfortunately, this muddled mindset resulted in several decorations being broken. The good news is that nothing that broke was of great sentimental value. The bad news is that one of the items that broke was a nativity snow dome, and it made quite a mess of that particular box, ruining several other wooden ornaments and out tabletop nativity scene. It was a mess to deal with, but in the end we decided not to replace any of those things this year. They weren't major, so we decided to move forward with what we've got. Perhaps we'll go out after Christmas to see about replacing a few of those things after the holidays. But for now, we're both getting over colds, we just finished Christmas shopping, and we just want to take it easy and take the holidays as they come without the added pressure of perfecting the decorating. It's just not worth it.
I think there's a bigger lesson here. We're obsessed with making the "perfect holiday," and in the end we usually stress ourselves out so much that we can't enjoy it like we're supposed to. Maybe we even miss the meaning of the season in our rush to conquer "to do" list, present buying, cookie-baking, lavish parties, and all the other "must do's" of the holidays. What's wrong with keeping it simple and choosing to focus on enjoying each day of the season? Nothing, except that it's socially unacceptable to have such a "chill" attitude toward the holidays. But after last year, I don't care about those trappings anymore. The meaning of the season is more important than the societal expectations, commercial pressures, and FOMO (fear of missing out) that conquers so many people. It took death rocking Christmas again last year to open my eyes to this again this year. The goal shouldn't be perfection but APPRECIATION of the season and what it brings to our life. If we're wrecking or missing that meaning in unrealistic expectations while we rush about with overfilled schedules and arguments with family and friends over what "perfect" means for Christmas, then what's the point? There isn't one.
Maybe it's my experience last year, maybe it's this cold, or maybe it's middle age, but my patience with the hustle and bustle of the season is pretty thin. The "perfect" Christmas doesn't exist, because life is change and reality will always throw wrenches at you to remind you that life and the world aren't perfect. Something will always be out of whack, which is why we need the season in the first place - to remind us that there's always hope.
I don't want to find myself sitting at the window on December 26 just having the time to ponder the meaning of the season. I want it to be timely this year. I want to live it in the moment, not constantly deferred by the demands of a schedule or "to do" list. Maybe that's why so many people love those old-time Christmas movies and songs. It was simpler back then. It didn't take so much to make people happy, and they weren't offended by everything under the sun. Maybe we need to get back to some of those classic values. it's something to ponder
That's all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.