26Nov/180

Holidays

I’m familiar with friends who suffer from depression during the holidays. I’ve been lucky, though, not to be one of them. Holidays and birthdays have always been something my family has celebrated with…well, vigor. I have incredible memories of Grandma cooking, or trips out to Sutherlands Fish & Chips (or Highlands Fish & Chips) back in the day. Family dysfunction be damned. We still celebrated and the gifts were like magic.

Those days were the late 1970s up until the mid-1980s. Things slowed a little after that and even more so in the last two decades. Okay, and even more so in the last 6 years. I tried to recapture a little bit of it having the holiday at our place for Ralph’s father, my parents and my grandmother. Then people started passing on. Ralph’s father, then mine.

My father passed in November of 2015 and Christmas that year was a bit somber. There’s no sugarcoating it. We persevered, however, and made the most of it. My birthday in 2017 was just a wreck. Too much going on and too much of it negative, all of my making. We tried. Mom and I pledged we’d do better the following year. We spent Christmas 2017 at Mom’s new house with Grandma and Ralph eating Boston Market. Not the greatest of feasts, but we were together.

My birthday this year? Mom was still recovering from her stroke and Grandma had just passed. I didn’t care about not doing anything. I didn’t care about not getting a card or a gift. I cared that Mom’s heart was broken from her mother’s passing and her spirit having taken a beating from the stroke. She pledged we’d do better next year. Mom spent her birthday in the hospital and I told her the gift we’d be getting her once she got out. Also, I pledged we’d do better next year.

None of this will come to pass.

I stopped by the grocery store last week Tuesday, I think, to pick up a few last minute items. I walked through the store going over the list in my head and then it dawned on me; I was buying for two. I used to buy for up to six. Ralph’s father passed in 2013, then mine in 2015. That left four. Mom and Grandma wouldn’t be coming this year. We were now down to two. Just like that. As if by a snap of the fingers. Two gone. Two left.

The reality slammed me in the chest. I count myself lucky I was wearing sunglasses so those around me couldn’t see me desperately trying to hold back the tears. Christmas this year will be the same as Thanksgiving. Every holiday will be the same from now on. Every birthday will be the same. The days and relationships I cherished exist only in my memory now.

For those of you who remember and read the blog posts by author Dorien Gray, he knew this better than any of us. That man lost so much and missed his past so much, there were days I just couldn’t understand where he was coming from. I have a taste of it now. I’m learning his pain. I’m also learning the pain others talk about regarding depression during the holidays. But, being who I am and my nature, I can fake my way through just about anything. I can write happiness if I want to create that illusion. I’ll feel like a bit of a fraud, but there are worse things to feel.

Aren’t there?

So I’ll pose this to all of you who happen to come across and read this; how do you deal with the holiday blues if you happen to have them?

Until next time…

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Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, and sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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