This was a hard Christmas for me, for a number of reasons. For those of you who may not know, my parents filed for divorce in November. And while it is something that I knew was going to happen and needed to happen for a long time, the surprising part is that it hits me sometimes when I’m not expecting it. I have mostly gotten used to the arguments, and spending lots of time in my room. It’s easier to stay out of the line of fire there; some may call it avoidance, I call it survival.
While I knew Christmas was going to be different this year (we didn’t decorate, put up a Christmas tree and only did nominal baking) I didn’t realize how thrown off-balance I would feel. I didn’t realize that I would miss the family traditions that I could count on every year. Most of the time I function okay, I am not super happy, but I have things and hobbies to immerse myself in to keep me going. My pets, fitness, photography, friends and music all keep me sane. But during the Christmas season I heard about everyone’s holiday plans with family get-togethers and dinners and all sorts of wonderful family traditions and I realized that I was dreading Christmas because we wouldn’t be doing any of OUR traditions because we weren’t a whole family any longer. We may all be still living together in the same house but we still weren’t a family together.
I could still listen to all my favorite Christmas music, open up my presents and watch Christmas movies, but in the end, I was really glad when Christmas was over and all the unspoken and subconscious expectations of the day and what it meant were over and “normal” life could resume. Next year when the divorce is final, I would love to say that Christmas will be better, but I know that it wouldn’t be true. Next year will be different, and heartbreaking all the same, in different ways. I am hoping that somewhere down the line, new Christmas traditions will begin to make new memories and it will be a day that I can again look forward to, but for now? I still grieve over the past and what should, and might have been.