The term “holiday blues,” or the idea that this time of year can be depressing for many, has become a socially acceptable construct within a culture that, typically, is not that honest about mental health issues.
Aside from the sturm-und-drang many people face of making appearances at holiday celebrations and covering all the bases with regard to gift-giving, many are lonely this time of year. In a time full of gatherings with large and wonderful families seemingly everywhere, for many, it can be an outside-looking-in sort of proposition.
Of the many holidays celebrated this season around the world, Christmas is the most traditionally family-oriented of those, and so many folks have empty chairs in their homes. I am one of those.
This year I have much to celebrate and a multitude of blessings for which to be thankful, but unfortunately, some of the burdens that have haunted me have reduced my cheer and drive to do much of anything. Like that old song goes, it’s as if my get up and go got up and went.
Grief is ever-present and something no human is immune to. There’s no one way to “deal” with it, despite whatever pop-psychology hogwash on television or in big-selling self-help tomes tell us. We’re all wired differently.
Near the beginning of this festive month, I found myself feeling in a funk and could not deduce why. The night those blues began to set in, I figured it out.
There are dates on the calendar that haunt us all. Some call them “heaven dates,” those anniversaries of those who’ve passed on. That day was the sixth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing.
Two-thousand and fifteen was a humdinger of a year, personally, in terms of losses. I lost several friends; a mentor figure and at the year’s end my grandfather.
By and large, looking back, I’d been numbed to loss by that point, but still, I know a lot of what I used to be disappeared in the wake of his passing.
The great Guy Clark, who was a musical favorite of my grandfather, and who passed away, himself, the next year after, wrote a tribute to his father titled “The Randall Knife.” The lyrics deal with the passing of time and finding just the right tears to mourn his father, years after his passing.
I’m still feeling those blues, and not really looking that forward to Christmas, but I was finally able to get some solace in remembering my lost loved one.
You see, the day after he passed, I witnessed a most beautiful sunset, probably the most striking display of such I’ve ever witnessed, westbound on 287. I’d like to think my grandfather had something to do with that. Anyhow, in the years since, I’ve needed to write about that sunset, and did not realize how much I needed to do so.
It was a healing exercise, and I would like to share the resulting words with you, gentle readers.
when those pines’ve shed their clothes;
the brilliant show
of red-into-orange, tempered with yellow,
doesn’t just whisper through the bare branches –
It was like a belly laugh
you committed to one of your own corny jokes,
of which I thought there’d still be an ample supply.
We always think that,
turning away the inevitability of an ending.
The punchline never seems within the realm of reason,
but to everything there is a season.
Merry Christmas and happy rest of the holiday season to everyone. Whether you are spending these days of celebration with a large and wonderful family or by your lonesome, there is always some reason to be cheerful.
Remember those who are not with you any longer, but also, remember to celebrate those who are still here and able to talk, laugh and enjoy this time with you.