Thursday, December 11, 2003

Bah humbug

I can tell you exactly when I began to hate this holiday. It wasn't like you'd think. It wasn't because my kids were small and I had nothing to give them for Christmas. That happened, but, some really wonderful people stepped in and provided gifts for the kids and food for us all. It wasn't so bad. It wasn't because someone I loved dearly died and I just couldn't face the holidays without them. That hasn't happened to me and I pray it never does. I don't know how "I'd" deal with that one. I think there are some things you just never get over. Or past.

It began the year I lost my job, then my husband lost his job. All within 6 months. That first Christmas wasn't so bad. We did have unemployment, and my 16 year old son worked at Burger King. Between the three of us we managed to scrape together a half-way decent Christmas. But, that wasn't the worst. That was yet to come.

In March of the following year Robert (my husband) had a stroke. The trip to the hospital and the following days were pretty scary. By the time he came home, he'd gone from a seemingly healthy, slightly middle-aged man of 47 to an old man. He could walk but he needed help. He could talk but it was garbbled and you had to work with him to understand what he was saying. He aged 20 years in those few days. He was alive but the life was gone out of him. His physical health was bad but his mental health was in serious trouble. I can only imagine what it must have been like for him. It broke my heart all over to see him so lost and afraid.

Because of the stroke he obviously was no longer able to look for work much less able to actually hold down a job. So, we lost his unemployment. Then in a matter of a few weeks mine too ran out. All we had to live on was what Robby brought home. We got behind in our rent, we lost our telephone, cable went next. Then one morning we got up and our car was gone. We were 3 payments away from having it paid off. In the dead of night the 're-po man' came an stole that car right out of our front drive. Yeah, those guys you see on T.V. having so much fun. It's only fun if it's not YOUR car they take. I can only imagine how Robert felt. As for me, I just checked out. I began to sleep. I would sleep for days at a time. At one point I lost an entire weekend. I didn't eat, I didn't bathe, I didn't care. I didn't want to care. I just wanted to go away to that place where nothing mattered. I wanted to be alone. It was a dark dark time in our world.

Robby and Kasey held it all together . Robby went to school, worked and did what he could. Kasey would come every few days. She'd go to the grocery store, cook and clean. The two of them pulled together and kept things going. If you ever wonder why I tolerate the things I do with them, remember this.

Eventually I found my way back. But, our life has never been the same. That is when the 'holidays' became a nightmare. There just was no money for Christmas presents. I felt like such a failure. I know Robert felt the same. We had gotten Roberts disability started, but let me tell you its not what people make it out to be. It's bearly enough to survive, there is nothing left for extras. If I went to work, they'd dock his pension (based on my PRE-taxes income). Still we've managed to slowly work our way back to some sembalance of a decent life. We pay our bills, we live in a decent neighborhood in a decent house. We have good food, nice enough clothes, and even a few extras now and then.

Of course it never fails that come late fall-early winter some new seasonal disaster strikes. This year it's Patches (our car). She's gone. She passed away a few weeks ago. I called her patches because even her repairs had repairs.. She was a good ole girl. We put many a mile on her. She served her masters well. But her work her is over. She's gone to the great junkyard in the sky. We'll survive. We do have a way to get around thanks to a young friend of Robby's. But that means no extra money again this year for Christmas. We have to save what we can for a down payment. And so it goes.
I do have much to be thankful for. Roberts health is better. He is much more optimistic than in past few years. My children and grandchildren are all healthy. My grandchildren will not want for Christmas. Their parents and the 'other' grandparents will see to it that they have all they need and most of what they want. My daughter-in-laws parents are wonderful. They are very generous with Hailey and Trent. I thank God for them. Zach's Mom will work overtime and two jobs to make sure he, his brother and sister have a good Christmas. Her Mother works and gives generously as well. So the children won't miss out on a thing.

Still, I feel so , inadequate. "I" should be able to be generous. "I" should be able to give like the other grandparents do. Even though I don't know what I'd give, I still 'want' to be doing something, more. Then there's my children. Even though they are all grown now, I still want to be able to do more for them. There is so much I want to do. But there just isn't any money for big stuff. So I do what I can. Still that feeling is there lurking, haunting me. Whispering "you failed again".

But, this year, something is different. That old familiar feeling hasn't hit. It's not that there's any more money. So it must be, blogdom . Through blogdom I have discovered I am not alone. Lots of people feel the same. Lots of people face the same obstacles. Lots of people get the 'holiday blues'. I guess it's true what they say "misery loves company".

Thank you my friends.
Just maybe this year, I won't try to 'sleep' my way through Christmas.
God Bless you one and all!!!



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