Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Thoughts

Do you mind if we talk about the holidays as the mixed bag of emotions and memories that connect our past and present, no matter how we try to keep it simple?
Simple? I welcome the holidays, but they are not simple. I appreciate the glitter and festivity and sharing and and extra doses of kindness that come more easily this time of year. I am definitely part of that: you will find plenty of Christmas cheer here on my blog and it will be genuine.
But that is not the whole story, and I don't like the idea of prettying things up when so many of us--myself included--have a bittersweet approach to Christmas, Holidays, the New Year. So maybe if I fess up to that it might make it easier for someone else.
Sometimes the blogs can make our lives look too damn easy. It's hard enough putting up with perfection on television and in magazines. I don't want to perpetuate the myth of perfection here. So if you don't mind bearing with me I'm going to tell you about my holidays.
I have a loving family and they will be with me over Christmas. I take my time shopping and selecting tiny and sometimes major presents for my family and friends. I never (rarely) go to malls, and I am almost done with everything except the wrapping. I feel good about the presents I am giving this year.
On Christmas Eve my dear friends Mike and Clara and their daughter Dani will drive two hours to get here and we will celebrate over a fine meal and wicked desserts as we have for twenty plus years.
I see my friends this time of year. We plan get-togethers, catch up on news, share special gifts, give and recieve the gift of time.
The blogs and my friends there have become amazing . I'm getting cards and good wishes from all over the world, and I can say I am truly blessed with special relationships that I'll have for a life time.
I am healthy, my mother is happily settled near by in a wonderful rest home, money is finally not a problem, and I love my work.
And yet:
Last year at this time I was as depressed as I have ever been in my life.
I have written about the loss (dissolution) of an important relationship and I have promised myself that I will not continue to lament it here or any more than I have to in my own mind. This is not someone who has treated me and the 'we-that-we-were' kindly in the dissolution. And yet try as I might the love hasn't gone anywhere. I think one day it will just settle somewhere in a corner of my heart and I will remember all the reasons we loved one another. And at this time of year: I hope she has an amaryllis in her house.
I have never been so aware of illness and fragility and loss. I worry about my friends Marsha and Renee, I watch my Mom try hard to hold on to her memories. I witness my beloved Jessica now with her own family and I understand that I will always continue to care about her as if she were still ten years old, except it will be from afar much of the time, and I hope she will not ever be burdened taking care of me.
I am so fortunate and yet sometimes I feel lost.
I will soon write another post about my holidays and in it I will talk about my festivities and wild wonderful fun, all of which is also true. But today I wanted to say it's not all sweetness and light, not always a bowl of chocolate covered cherries.....and that's alright.



  1. You are right Kj, the holidays are a mixed bag, but how can they not be when life is a mixed bag. All I hope is that the good out weighs the negative and I think it does, everytime :-). xoxo

  2. Wonderful post kj.

    Your heart is not broken this year though dear one. It is on the mend.

    And what a heart. This heart of yours is all heart.

    Love you.

    Renee xoxox

  3. "I am so fortunate,and yet sometimes feel lost"
    I think that's probably the common denominator of the human existance.
    And since we're all humans, holidays and life can be complicated.But like Annie says, the good floats up to the top.

  4. Yes Renee is right. You are healing and from what i can see your heart is only stronger and more beautiful.
    You are right too, life may not be all a bowl of beautiful cherries, there are yucky stinky ones that you don't want to eat, and hopefully throw out before you do!
    (In fact emily may like to throw those icky ones).
    Hugging you dear friend,
    love you,

  5. Super post, kj, and very honest. Thank you...the holidays feel much the same for me. I hang on to the gaiety for dear life, sometimes, just so I won't go where life, during the holidays, was really bad.

    But that's life, I guess, sometimes good, sometimes bad...and during Christmas, I strive really hard for the good.

  6. Nope-nothing is all sweetness and light-if you dig below the surface. Except for chocolate----aaagh.

    The pervasive cheer makes even a little sadness seem so out of place-maybe that's why it's hard-we need to give our sadness its own place.

  7. I do know what you mean. When I write about the good stuff it isn't so much to present a false front as to bouy myself up when I most need it. But not all peaches and cream at my blog by any stretch. In fact, the post I'm workig on tomoorrow is probably another one that will make people shake their heads at my life. That's okay - the good and the bad, at least it's a full life.

  8. hmmm...someday I might even show the really sad miss em's on my blog - but also maybe not.

    life is a bowl of something that's for sure

  9. I'm so glad you posted that beautiful raven again! I wish you knew who the artist was so I could save a million bucks and buy it.

    I think it's human nature to try to be cheery at the holidays so we don't bring others down. But it IS life to have ups and downs and doldrums. Can you imagine being perpetually perky and happy? People wouldn't want to be around you because it wouldn't be real.

    I've been writing cards for hours today trying to finish them up. Like you, I don't just sign my name. Everyone gets a personal note even if it's only one line. And I try to put a lot of thought into the person I'm giving a gift to.

    I love what Renee said. You don't have a broken heart anymore. It's mending. But sometimes it hurts getting stitches ;)

    I'm a phonecall away and a 2 hour drive.
    Just ask Mim for directions!


  10. I am so fortuante and yet sometimes I am so lost..... Oh yes I know this one only too well.
    From one like this to another wishing you peace and traquility this Christmas.

  11. i actually hate december, the over spending, over eating, over drinking, and then the january crash...but you are right, my blog is always upbeat, but inside i often weep!
    'when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you, when you're crying, you cry alone!'

  12. You're so right about bittersweet. I love Christmas and having the family over but I badly miss those who can't be with us. My husband, my parents, even my estranged brother who no longer joins us on Christmas day, very sad. And like you, I lament the suffering of lovely Renee and others who are having a hard time over Christmas both physically and mentally. Not all will be surrounded by family and friends and not all will embrace what should be a happy time of year. A good reminder kj that we are blessed you and I. Despite a tough year for us both, we have survived almost intact and life is pretty good. Not flawless, but good. Merry Christmas my darling friend. I'll talk to you again on the weekend. Much love. Hells.

  13. I am so glad you are feeling better this year than you were last year! I hope next year will be even better. Your heart is one of the biggest I've ever had the pleasure to know.

    Just remember, without the bitter, we can't really appreciate the sweet. I hope you always have an abundance of sweet in your life, and just the teeniest-tiniest taste of bitter, so you'll always be able to appreciate the difference.

    Hugs and love,

  14. This is an honest post. It is good to acknowledge the flaws and imperfections of the holidays. Doing otherwise sets expectations too high and sets us up for an inevitable fall.

  15. what a beautiful, honest post. This time of year, when so much gloss is slathered on things, it is easy to feel a loss of control, blinking through all the glitter. One line that always soothes me is from Leonard Cohen. "There is a cracka, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in..."

  16. <3 Yes Christmas does indeed flush up all these emotions & you are not the only one <3 have a MeRRy one my sweet friend <3

  17. annie, you have the best attitude! and i know you live it!

    ms. renee, what else could a heart be but a heart? :) but thank you. love you too xoxo

    babs, you too have the best attitude! and you too live it. i'm in damn good company!

  18. So true, isn't it? I think this rings true for all of us - certainly me. I relish my Christmas this year because it hasn't always been happy. And yet, I worry about some of my friends - old and new - who are struggling with their health, with family issues and some of them financially. They are all on my mind and in my heart. Thank you for this post! Hugs, Silke

  19. Great post, kj.

    This month is so intense. Intense joy, intense sadness, intense spending. Everything is fever pitched.

    Thats why I enjoy lemonade, watermelon, burgers on the grill ane fireworks much, much more.

    And I love Renee's Grinch!

    You are such a sweetie [[[hug]]]

    Merry Christmas kj
    All the Very Best


  20. Isn't it crazy how we can pick a few times a year where we look for the positive in things, knowing that perhaps the next day the gloom will settle again...but put thinkgs in a box for now.
    I always miss my Dad more at this time of year, and I feel for those who won't be having their loved ones with them.
    Wishing you all the best this Christmas and for a wonderous new year.
    Amanda xx

  21. Beautiful post KJ!
    I have mixed feelings during this period too, not so excpetional as I have them often.
    Yesterday I had my Mom over for the day and that always leaves me a little depressed ......
    The first Christmas without my Dad.
    Well, we have to make something of life! So also Christmas .
    Will spend it at my big brothers, together with our family.
    Sh.. want to say so much but cant really in this language, but believe me I know how you feel

    Enjoy the good part of these days


  22. thank you lori. my heart was and probably still is new to this kind of confusion, but time is truly helping. i am changed, though--can't yet say for better or worse but i;m rooting for better. xoxo, i'm hugging you back.

    marion, i'm striving really hard for the good too--i like the way you say that. but you know, i kind of don't like having to work at it. sometimes i just want to flow...!

    debra kay,

    'The pervasive cheer makes even a little sadness seem so out of place-maybe that's why it's hard-we need to give our sadness its own place.'

    you say the most insightful and elegant truths. xoxo

    cs, a full life for sure!!! you show up every day. now you have me eager to know what your blog will reveal tomorrow... ♥

    mim, life is a bowl of something, HAHAHA! ps tsup!

    lo, yes i can imagine being perpetually perky and happy, or at least for loooong stretches. there might be something wrong with me.
    btw, today i told my heart it is mending and we have to get through the stitches, and we both agreed that is helpful to know. xoxox

  23. KJ You want the truth? For me anyway? Holidays, especially religious inspired ones make little sense to me and I give them no relevance.

    If I see or don't see someone in this month then I know next month or the one after that or not at all.

    Wounds that are not currently in progress are simply old and without merit anymore. I am fortunate that I have no new wounds right now and for that I am grateful.

    On the other side of the coin I do not dissuade my family or others from doing what they wish to do or not do other than delivering the dictum of "don't waste your money on me." They are easily persuaded that it is sincerely meant.

    If I go to someones house for the day it will be as driver an chauffeur because I navigate snow and ice filled streets very well.

    I will respond to amity with amity and concourse with concourse, as I am wont to do anyway, but in my mind and my heart the holiday is and has been for centuries simply a day when people focus on something learned but not truly believed nor understood.

    Have a safe and enjoyable time as you move through your holiday and be glad that you are well thought of and loved and are able to respond in kind.

  24. The holidays are a mixed time for many I guess. Part of it is the closing of a year and (hopefully) leaving some of the harder things that went on in it behind us. Nothing is that simple though ... we draw lines in the sand only in the next second to leap back across it clinging on to the old hurts and resentments.

    You're right Karen that it's hard to put up with false portrayal ... that bloody perfection being pushed at us from the media et al. Life ... real life is not like that. But it is also much richer than these sources often portray too. Even though reality can be so very harsh and hard to bear, it is at least real. xx Jos

  25. KJ -- I read this earlier, but then had to run out to the girls' school for an afternoon holiday event. What you wrote really meant a lot -- with the light comes the dark ... and I don't think we appreciate the light as much if we don't experience that darkness. I agree with Renee -- I see so many ways that awesome (and I mean that in the true definition of awesome) heart of yours is on the mend.

    Please tell Emily that she makes me laugh like no one else!! I loved her tree review! :D