There I said it. Well, wrote it. I feel like a weight has just been lifted. Holidays bring about lots of pressures. Like the pressure of actually having to like the holidays. You’re buying into the pumpkin (everything), the seasonal albums by your favorite pop stars, the winter wonderland scented candles, the cookie exchanges and the ugly sweater parties. But what about those times in our lives, when we just want it to be January and forget the holiday season exists?
This was me, four years ago. Thanksgiving hit me like a bus, five months after my oldest son passed away. This time period was not thankful and it was definitely more than thankless. If there had been a holiday party centered around anger, tears, deflection, rejection, isolation and pure survival mode, I would have arrived early to help set-up. I remember pieces of that year vividly and it was about one thing. Going through the motions. Not because I wanted to, but because other people wanted me to. People wanted me to be okay and the larger population wanted me to focus on the positive. Okay, they didn’t say that explicitly (there’s one thing I was thankful for), but I could see it in their eyes as they spouted out their “Happy Thanksgiving!”. Ugh, please.
My husband watches (a lot of) sports. There’s this term in football, called a “bye week”. It’s when a team has the week off during the season, and doesn’t have a game scheduled. Now that I’ve shown you my full knowledge base about the game of football, let’s get to the point of this fun fact. I think it’s okay to have a “bye week” during the holidays. Heck, you can take a “bye week” whenever you feel like your universe needs it. It’s not saying you’re giving up all together, but you’re just taking some time to rest-up. Get your head back in the game.
It’s tricky having holidays on set calendar dates. Life isn’t this organized. The universe doesn’t always let us ease into a new year, frolic in the summer sun and feel jolly in the winter. Stuff just keeps happening. Stuff that can leave us sad and feeling anything but festive. It’s taken me years to get to a place of feeling thankful again. That first year, my son’s death was just mean and senseless and sad. These days, I can feel my son in everything I do. And I’m extremely thankful for that.
It’s okay not to be in the holiday spirit. It’s okay to take a “bye week”. It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to be sad. We need these feelings as much as we need thankfulness. When they show up, we need to give them the attention they’re asking for, because we all know we can’t shake ‘em, until we work through them.
So be thankful that you’re working through things. Be thankful that your true friends and family will still be there for you during and afterwards. It’s perfectly okay if that’s all you know at this point in time. Having a thankless moment in your life doesn’t make you a bad person. It means you’re going through a bad time.