Author Topic: Dreading Christmas  (Read 88 times)

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Offline SarahB

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Dreading Christmas
« on: October 15, 2020, 04:40:52 PM »

Hi I hope it's ok to bring this up - I lost my Mum as some of you know, last December and that first Christmas just went by in a blur. My brother and I just did the best we could but it was awful, no tree, no gifts etc. There really is just the two of us now.

And now I'm dreading this year, I mean really dreading it. And because there is talk of further lockdowns, I'm almost selfishly hoping that it just goes away without much fuss. Every time I see an advert for it I scream or turn off the channel.

My brother isn't very supportive or willing to help when it comes to this type of thing. He's an alcoholic and for several years between 2014-2018, quite a few Christmas' were non existent because as hard as my Mum and I tried, he wouldn't come out of his room. Of course 2019 blew everything else off the map with Mum's passing. Then in May this year my beloved dog passed away from a stroke at the age of 14 :(.

All I am seeing around me are happy families, couples, people with babies etc and, as stupid as I feel typing this, at the age of 44 I have never married or had children so my Mum and the Christmas' she made with my late Dad were so important to me. In my head I'm regressing and all I can think of are those really happy memories from childhood and how much I loved Christmas then. I've never really wanted to marry or have kids (I'm a huge animal person), but now I'm beating myself up for not having children just so I won't be alone. I might see my brother for a couple of hours but it won't be for a special dinner or anything and he really can't be bothered with it all anyway, whereas I've always tried to make it special.

So I feel that this year when people are together I will be totally alone and I can't bear it. I don't feel like anyone really cares. Is it normal to dread Christmas like this after such losses?  Is it true that everyone is happy at that time of year?

I'd really appreciate having someone to talk to about this and I'm sorry I haven't been around for a while.

Thank you

Sarah xx

Offline Emz2014

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Re: Dreading Christmas
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 09:55:48 PM »
You're not alone  :hug:
My Christmases have varied over my lifetime. My favourite Christmases as an adult for many years revolved around my dad - he was central to our celebrations - he'd cook an amazing feast, we would gather and have just the perfect time. We suddenly lost him in 2013. We tried to recreate Christmas, was nice but could never compare.  Other complications happened and now I Christmas with my partner at home alone now

So Christmas is bitter sweet now. I buy gifts for family/friends but I don't celebrate Christmas as such now. I do a nice dinner and do nice stuff, but not labeled as Christmas.   Its tough and I miss those times dearly. Adverts/media do highlight it and for lack of better words 'rub it in'

In some ways if there are lockdown restrictions maybe it wont feel as odd/isolating?

Ive tried to focus on making things meaningful in other ways - start different/new traditions, do something in memory of dad.  It helps me, maybe worth trying to think how you could do something slightly different/meaningful?
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. 
Hold on in there xx

Offline Karena

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Re: Dreading Christmas
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2020, 11:55:07 AM »
 :hug: I was dreading xmas after my husband died it used to be open house xmas day and i couldnt even try to continue with that because i had to move - but despite the distress in the run up the day itself was not as bad  whatever our circumstances i will say firstly a lot of people who have been here over the years have found those anniversary s we dread are often far worse in the build up than the day itself.
 I have stepped outside Xmas  - by that i mean adapted a different version of it - so all the paraphernalia in the build up no longer applies to me and it is actually much less stressful -it doesn't bother me with the adverts and stuff in the shops because it isnt my festival but i am  a guest looking in on other peoples if that makes sense.
I couldn't bear the thought of writing xmas cards just from me so i stopped doing them and gave stuff too the food bank instead -i make and send a few winter solstice cards out  to a few friends  - that isn't to say i have turned bah humbug i still get presents for the grand kids  but i looked at new or rather old more pagan ideas around the winter festival and adapted them for myself -

New year is also a difficult one as many people feel they are leaving their loved one behind in the last year but in the older times new year was a time to let in the new but take the best from the old forward with you - so new years if its not raining i light a fire outdoors take a blanket and a pot of hot chocolate and burn a candle over the midnight hour its is symbolic of taking my husband forward into the next year with me - if its too bad weather for that i do it indoors - new years day   is about letting in the light not the calendar new year the winter solstice changes dates but i do it then while others do their thing - it is the time when the days start to get longer again so we have more light in our lives to look forward too
It doesn't matter what you do or believe in, the Xmas we consider normal in our society's is a ritual so basically i replaced one ritual or parts of it with another which as it turns out suits me better it is more gentle and a time for rest That doesnt mean you need to  exclude your mum from it she didnt create all those Xmases for you with the idea that you would one day be saddened by them so celebrate them and her life but do it your way. If it was a very christian Christmas then maybe go to christingle (again maybe not possible this year but that doesnt mean you cant take an element of it an do it at home)  -look up in the loft do you still have a decoration you can hang up from those times as an acknowledgement of them - if not maybe buy something similar too a favourite one a fairy or angel and hang that in tribute too her and those past christmases instead.What was your favorite part of them is there a way to focus on just that one thing.

Others here have tried to reproduce the xmas they had and set a place at the table for the person they lost with a photo we are all different and find different ways to cope.

There are other options normally if you are on your own such as helping out with xmas dinner at homeless centres  i dont know what will happen about things like that this year but something you might consider for future years it means you are less alone and kept busy on the day and maybe you will find new friends from the other volunteers.

You have the time now to think about what you would like to do and create your own ideas keep those childhood  memorys in mind and keep your mum in mind -   - maybe ask your brother and think of something you could both do during the time he does come down so he can be even a small part of the planning which might help him eel better about it too.
As a child for me we didnt have money xmas lunch was not the massive feast people have now - but xmas tea was special too and it was more festive because things in it were bought or made and stored over time for me the build up wasnt the tv ads or shopping but stirring the cake mix putting coins in the pudding and cutting pastry for mince pies  - old fashioned stuff that all went on the table that day sandwiches xmas cake mince pies jelly meruinges etc -  so maybe you could put something together buffet style with some xmasy food  things in from your childhood then its there when your brother comes down and its there to pick at for you and its there for boxing day if you are not hungry xmas day.

Losing your dog is a big blow too i lost mine and he had played a big part in getting me back on my feet after my husband died - I dont think i ever will replace my dog initially i thought maybe i would in a year or so but not now - but i do have dogs for when other people go on holiday - there are four regular ones at different times of the year - some of the dog shelters are crying out for foster carers so maybe thats something you could think about doing too you get the benefits of having the dog but without getting as attached although sometimes foster carers will end up adopting a particular one in the end.