It’s golden right?
I’ve craved it. Haven't we all? As a busy doctor and mom, there’s always something in the background of daily living -- kids arguing, kids playing, kids giggling (my favorite!), the hustle and bustle of the life in the clinic, a shout of “mooooooooom” from upstairs or downstairs, the radio, the stove, the washing machine, the beeper, the pitter patter of fingers on my keyboard. But, this minute, it’s silence. This hour, and for all the hours of today, it’s silence.
Right now, it’s feeling deep, dark, and deafening. I’m sitting on my couch in my house alone. It’s Christmas Day. I’m Jewish, so it shouldn’t feel sad or lonely. But, this is my first Christmas alone. I’m divorced now and my kids are with their dad. For the past decade, I adopted Christmas and it’s tradition of bringing families together. I cooked and baked and decorated a tree and made new traditions for my then-husband and kids. In those days, when I left work the day or two prior to Christmas, I said ‘goodbye’ to colleagues, wished them happy holidays, and looked forward to making my house warm for my loved ones and kids. This year, I left on that last day of the work week with dread. I savored the last few hours I had with my kids before my ex picked them up on Christmas Eve morning -- we snuggled in bed, watched tv, tickled and laughed. And then, they were gone. And the silence set in.
That morning, I went to work as the ‘on call doctor’, seeing patients in urgent care, fielding pages from the answering service. And then about 1 o’clock, I left the office, got in my car, and wasn’t sure where to go. Others were out and about, finishing last minute shopping, or on their way to see friends and family (I presumed). I stopped for coffee. And then I went home to The Silence.
Today, Christmas day, I slept in a little and woke to an empty house. I should be rejoicing. Free time to nap and read and sew and listen to music and clean my house is mine for the taking. Except, it just feels sad and lonely. The world is shut down today -- the stores are closed, there is no traffic on the roads, I have no where to be and I feel like an outsider again on Christmas. My kids aren't with me on a day that is about family.
Late morning, I left the house for a bit to meet a friend and her family for lunch -- they are ‘in between’ religions, unsure how to celebrate this year after she lost both her parents in the last several months. I was glad for the company and an excuse to leave my house, and The Silence, for a little bit. Her family welcomed me with kindness and warmth with an undertone of understanding that I am feeling like a woman without a country this year. Their hugs were warm, and lingered just a little longer than one might expect -- a subtle acknowledgement of the suffering they knew was behind my smile today.
I have always known that the holidays are a hard time for people. Facebook feeds and tv ads are filled with the perfect storybook moments of families coming together on the holidays. They don’t make commercials about the hearts of single parents breaking when their kids leave for the holidays. They don’t tell you what to do all day when everyone else is home celebrating, and you are alone. No one posts a ‘’selfie” on facebook with a comment, “here I am all by myself on Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone”. When I got a group text from a friend today, “Merry Xmas to all of you! Hope you are enjoying the day with your families!” I chuckled a little when I read it, and then felt nauseous, forcing myself to ‘stay positive’. My fairy tale family is split up and we don't fit into that cookie cutter holiday description anymore.
I don’t write this with self pity. It is more of a conscious exploration of this uncomfortable state of being. I am in a new chapter of my life. There are new realities that I need to accept about my life and my kids and my former relationship. I’m trying desperately everyday to be a mom who is present, navigating these treacherous seas for my kids and helping them get through it all, with all the usual background noise of work and schedules and a busy life. While I should welcome today’s silence, I fight it and argue with it, and sit with it uncomfortably. We are not friends.
In a few short hours this day will end. We will all slowly get back to our routines. At the end of the week, I expect my house to be loud with the usual noises of kids and this heavy loneliness will abate for a time. I’m hoping it gets easier someday.
If you were lonely this season, I know how you feel. No one has said that yet to me, but I'm going to say it to you. May the New Year bring warmth and light, joy and happiness. May we continue to harness our courage and strength to get through difficult times, and find ourselves better on the other side of them. May silence someday feel golden and welcome, and envelope us with the promise of self care rather than with the dread of loneliness. I wish that for me, and I wish that for you, if you are out there and you know what I mean.
Frieda B- wishing you the peace and joy that I know will come to you soon. And for silence to again feel like a long lost friend.ReplyDelete
Beautifully written. Thoughts are with you.ReplyDelete
Not there now, but I have been. This is a powerful, beautiful piece. Hugs to you❤️ReplyDelete
And if it makes you feel any better my 13 yo daughter got attacked by the Christmas blues or hormones or whatever and had meltdowns on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - big nasty adolescent self pity party. She was so chagrined she apologized today - I told her it was all part of growing up and I didn't let it get to me:). So different type of stress, but oh my! And self pity is ok. It's self love. We all need to yield and give ourselves a little more of it.Delete
Beautiful. The world needs more stories like this. So much truth and strength. Happy New Year!ReplyDelete
Please keep writing, Frieda B. It is such a gift for us to read, and I hope brings you a measure of comfort.ReplyDelete