The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
SPECIAL EDITION: CHRISTMAS 2019 – THE PRESENTS OF PRESENCE
The best effort of a fine person is felt after we have left their presence.
Here it is, another Christmas time.
The trees can be seen in the homes of people who celebrate. The station that plays Christmas music from Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas is there, churning out the classics (and the not so classic). People are buying their gifts in stores and online, hoping to impress the ones they love. Those extra sweet coffee staples are being drunk in the major coffee houses at nearly $10 a pop. And LED lights twinkle and strobe from the porches of houses across the world.
At this moment, our own tree is up. The ornaments have been hung. Of course, our cat, Watson, is doing his damndest to keep a few on the floor for his entertainment, not to mention perfecting his tree-climbing abilities as he scales our artificial tree to see how high he can get.
Yes. It’s another Christmas time.
Except, this one is different.
My Christmas’ starting changing ten years ago, with the death of my mother. It numbed me to the spirit that is supposed to flow in you during this time. My mind was constantly thinking of her as the big came closer and closer.
There was no cheer.
What little bit I had was fake, my Christmas mask.
But time does heal wounds, mostly. As the years went on, it became easier. Those old feelings of how I love Christmas came back. Even when adulthood, with its responsibilities, that causes the childhood magic to dim, I could still surround myself mentally on the love that I could see in the eyes of people, in children. And after a few years, I finally was able to get back to that place.
It takes time when someone that you loved leaves this world to allow yourself to enjoy things again. Well, it did with me. For me, it’s out of guilt.
How dare I enjoy myself?
What must people think when they see you smile and be happy?
They mustn’t care about their mother. Shame on them.
Of course, that’s malarky.
But here is another Christmas without someone I love in this world.
And that emptiness is back, an expanding gulf like an abyss, swallowing me whole.
And my Christmas joy is diluted. It feels if there isn’t enough oxygen to keep the flame alight. At any minute, no matter how much Christmas music I listen to or how much I watch the lights on our tree (one of my favorite things since I was a kid) will keep the flame from being snuffed out.
My father passing put my world into a spin. Though we could all see the writing on the wall and knew the time for him to pass on and leave us behind grew near, it still doesn’t keep us from feeling the huge emptiness that was left behind. Nothing will ever fill it. In time, that great vast aperture may shrink and I may be able to see the other side in time. But it will never be filled. Not ever. Maybe once I follow my father into the great beyond when I can see both of my parents again (something I truly believe no matter what you say).
Until then, this Christmas will feel… magicless.
And that’s to be expected. That is the problem of growing older when our hello’s become less and our goodbye’s become greater. We don’t have our parents to hide behind like when we were children and when we were too shy to meet someone new. Our goodbye’s we face on our own.
I’m the parent now. And one day my daughter will have to say goodbye to me and her next Christmas might feel a bit less magical. She’ll feel the pain that I feel now.
And, I guess, if I could, I’d tell her this.
And maybe my parents would tell me the same thing…
It’s going to hurt.
Even with people you love that you have chosen to be in your life surrounds you, you may feel alone. You were used to me being there, someone you could depend on, one of two people that helped bring you into this world, one of two people that held you when you cried or made you laugh when the pain was over.
I hope, in time, when you think of something funny I did, you’ll laugh again.
I’m there with you, even now.
Love never dies.
It’s a present I give to you. My presence… forever.
So, yeah, this Christmas will feel empty. I still have people I love that are here to help me get through it.
And I will.
In time, I hope the magic comes back.
I hope, in time, when I see someone, a child, that thinks about Santa coming on Christmas Eve to bring them something they have their heart on, I’ll smile. I hope I can absorb some of that wonderment that they feel and take it into my heart.
But… that’s in the future.
For now, I’m going to try and smile. It may be fake at the time but I’ll try. I’ll try not to dwell on the pain and try and focus on the now.
I’ll think back to when I was a kid and that magic was everywhere and how it flowed around me and in me. And I’ll remember the feeling of being secure in the fact my parents were there and how they loved me.
And how they love me, even now.
Their presence will be my true present this year.
I hope you feel the magic. If not this year, then in the future. It’s something to look forward to.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
December 20th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.