Christmas is a very difficult time for survivors of abuse. You try not to remember all the terrible holidays of the past. When you compound it with not being able to see your son, and being fairly recently single, it can be overwhelming. While I identify with Steppenwolf, I’ll be honest, there are moments when, for just a moment, I’m lonely.
And then I remember Christmas’ past.
So much could be said about Christmas. My earliest memories of Christmas, I was probably two. My older brother had been exceptionally “naughty.” I have no memory of how that was so. I know someone accidently burned down one of our barns, but I can’t remember if he had anything to do with it. At the time he would have been 9 or 10, so whatever he did likely wasn’t that bad. But we all felt he might be on the “naughty” list. The three of us were all nervous that maybe Santa wouldn’t come.
Back then Dad had a pretty fair amount of money. The morning of Christmas there wasn’t room under the tree for all the toys and presents that were wrapped under it. I only remember one, it was a ginourmous stuffed dog. Honestly, it was likely no more than two or three feet tall, but I was still a toddler, just barely grown past an infant.
Hard to say what was my best Christmas, but that had to be pretty close. By the time I was twelve, Christmas had totally lost its magic.
I fell in love when I was twelve. The curse of high intelligence is that sometimes (not nearly often enough to make your world better, but often enough to suffer) you mature early. There are at least two ways this applied to me. I figured out when I was five that everything dies. And I fell in love at age twelve.
Love adds a magic to everything when you have hope. When you believe the girl may love you back, and when you believe you may be able to provide for her and protect her. When you have hope that she will gaze into your eyes one day with that longing that (you think) justifies all the suffering you have ever gone through. It was worth it to have held her. To have seen her smile. To have held her next to you on a cold night.
God help those who lose that hope too young. It can be reclaimed. But that road is full of pain, and the bones of long dead dreams.
Being in love made Christmas worse. Not being able to see her. Having no hope of ever holding her. (For what woman can bear to love a man that is poor? And 50 years of experience has borne this out.) And I never did. Except once, in my dreams. Christmas was the time I didn’t get to see her. I tried to keep a brave face with my family (my parents rewarded my efforts with near constant fights and alcoholism).
I didn’t get the girl. Likely that is for the best. Whether I keep messing things up or keep choosing the wrong ones, I just haven’t found my forever love. My last ex still reads these, I’m sure she has some salient thoughts on why I can’t win love. My fault or not, love eludes me. And holidays are hard for the unloved.
Christmas present? I don’t know. I’m going to eat a turkey with my sister. I’ll have some presents for them (not much, I am still a bit in a financial bind). I may be becoming a Scrooge, but the holiday doesn’t mean much now. I don’t have my son, and I expect I will never see him again. I don’t think any fat giants flying me throughout the world will change my mind. I’ve lost the one love that is most important to me, and very few actually understand.
To be fair, there are a fair number of folks who care. But this kind of pain is so far outside of the normal persons perspective. If you never lost your child, you can never know what that pain is.
The courts don’t care. The police don’t care. The church takes her side. But every day, I put on a smile. I go in, do my job. And I try to stay on top of this blog. Try to figure it all out. Stay sane, take some vague care of myself, try to make the time people spend with me positive.
This won’t be my best Christmas. But it sure won’t be my worst either. I’m not with a woman, but that also means I’m not disappointing a woman, either. Maybe I just wasn’t husband material. Maybe, by this time of the game, it just doesn’t matter.
And what about the future? I am no profit, and no spirit comes to visit me, so I cannot say. For all I know, this may be my last Christmas, or I may have forty more. There is a slim chance I’ll see my son again, but all of that depends on the courts. And while I’m old, realfemsapien says I could still find love…provided I start earning six figures and get a six pack. While I won’t say that’s impossible, the odds get longer every day.
One day, one season, one Christmas at a time. I don’t think any Clarence is coming to teach me how I have a wonderful life. And no, I’m not going to suicide. So don’t worry about that. In the hope that I can at least go down swinging. I may not die in the arms of my love like Cyrano, but I can still die fighting.
Merry Christmas. If you have love, hold them tight to you the next few nights. Be kind to them. Give them the best gift of all, to know that you are so glad they are part of your life. If you are alone, still try to be kind. Don’t brood (much). Do something you love to do. Watch Die Hard, or Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Maybe give It’s a Wonderful Life a try. Better yet, Young Frankenstein.
Merry Christmas to all. May Krampus be kind to you.
Beautiful writing. And amidst the pain, a strong message of endurance and a horizon ahead that is more indigo than midnight black. Thank you for reminding us to take to hear that mantra from another great Christmas special:
“put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be moving ‘cross the floor-or-orrr!”
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I think that wizard was transformed into Theoden King of Rohan. That darn Grima Wormtongue
I can’t remember if I responded. Thank you so much for the kind comment. Hopefully in the year to come I can keep writing, and maybe start some youtube or podcasting of my own