The holiday season is a time of love and giving, and also, for many of us…a time of heightened anxiety and stress. 

I always worry this time of year that I have forgotten to do something or to buy something…that somehow I am going to leave someone I care about feeling overlooked or disappointed.

I was thinking the other day, I have no idea how people with more than two children manage to remember all of the things they need to do during this time of year. Yes, there’s the shopping to be done for the kids, but also their teachers, coaches (all very deserving of our gratitude!) and then there are the special events at school. How do you manage when it’s more than one school? Kudos to you. Really.

It is all beautiful and lovely, but there is so much to remember.

I wrote a while back about how it is a scientific fact that grief wrecks havoc on one’s memory, focus and ability to process. I have struggled all year with memory and organizational issues. So, coming into a time of year when there is so much more to do and remember….well, this quote struck me particularly funny –

I know that the logical thing to do is to back off a bit where I can – to not volunteer to add more things to my “To Do” list.

The dilemma with which I am faced is this – adding things to my plate can cause anxiety, but doing things for other people helps to combat depression.

It’s the classic Uppers vs. Downers dilemma.

(Just kidding…kind of. I do find doing for others kind of like a drug.)

It isn’t really much of a dilemma, actually.

If my anxiety is presently caused by my worrying about the amount of love and joy I am spreading in the world – that’s a pretty good kind of anxiety to have, right?

The fancy Christmas kind?

Here’s the painful truth –

I see The Nothing ahead of me, like a big black fog of darkness I am going to have to walk through at the other side of Christmas. The night of December 26th was the last time I saw my dad conscious. It was the last time I felt his arms around me; the last time I heard him say, “I love you.”

So…I know what I’m doing.

I am begging the question…

If I create as much light as I can, between now and then, can I hold it off?

Can my light push away The Nothing?

One Comment on “Day 264/365 Fancy Christmas Anxiety

  1. Hello Again. I commented a while back on a post you wrote about John. I explained about our connection – my mother was a dear friend of Anne (and Ed, of course!). When I was in RI this past July and Anne and I talked about my comment on your blog, I realized that I never left my name, so let me introduce myself — my name is Jackie. I read your blog (almost) every day. :o) I lived in Holliston for a while, but my Mom eventually moved us back to her hometown a few years after my Dad passed away. She eventually remarried and many years later, my 2nd Dad passed away in 2007 and my Mom in 2009. Our close friends in Holliston remained close all these years and are so dear to my heart. As an extension, and through your writing, I feel that closeness with you. My mother passed away on New Year’s Eve, 2009 — 3 days after we celebrated her 75th birthday. I completely understand and relate to “The Nothing” ahead of you. This year will mark 8 years for me without her, and as I write this to you, my stomach aches and tears spill over the rim of my eyes, but know this — it is has gotten easier. I will not sugar-coat it for you, this year will be a rollercoaster of emotions for you — but let them all in — embrace them — the good and the bad — and if I might suggest a glass of wine or two to help you through, all the better! :o) You have a strong support system — I know some of them personally — they are good peeps — but you don’t need me to tell you that. I just wanted to let you know, that a (somewhat) stranger is experiencing the same thing as you. It never really goes away, but each year, as I remember her, I do find myself smiling a little more, crying a little less, and breathing a little easier. Thinking of you, and wishing you a heartfelt Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year.


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