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Archive for December, 2008

this year, it just isn’t christmas.

it doesn’t feel like christmas without my sister, yet somehow it feels like we are pretending it isn’t christmas because she isn’t here. and that deeply, deeply saddens me. i feel empty and speechless in a way that i’m not even sure i can explain. this is the first christmas i have ever spent without my sister. the first one ever without a christmas dinner.

i have always loved christmas. as a child chrismtas was magical. santa and stockings and christmas carols. all day baking and glasses of egg nog and always surrounded by the warm glow of holiday lights. as i got older, i came to fall in love with christmastime. the smells and sounds of a season of cheer and goodwill. warm laughs and shared spirit and good times spent with loved ones.

the magic of christmas spread to be the wonder of christmastime. fresh wintertime. it was softer, more still. and somehow, always sad. it always felt like a sweet sadness that lingered underneath. like it was there to make the happy times feel that much more touching, and the sad ones that slightly less heartbreaking, as though your pain were shared.

but this year there is no sad holiday feeling underneath. it simple does not feel like christmas. during the happy or the sad times. there were some treasured moments spent with loved ones, and for that i am grateful. but i am missing that warm fuzzy holiday feeling.

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this year i remember what thanksgiving means.

the intention of the name is pretty obvious, but to so many people thanksgiving means a time to stuff yourself with turkey, more than a time to reflect on the things that you have to be thankful for.

to me, thanksgiving has always been mostly about family. holidays with my family always feel special in the way that the days have this way of feeling warm and cozy, like a soft low hum runs through the house warmed by the oven and the flurry of constant cooking. thanksgiving was always dad’s bloody marys at nine am; time spent with grandma and grandpa d rehashing the old time stories with details we’d always seem to never have heard before; the smell of turkey; a frenzy of photos; apple pie and the first eggnog of the season.

ange gma me this is a picture from last thanksgiving, in so many ways a perfect kind of holiday. i take measure now of what i had to be thankful for then, the things that i overlooked and took for granted now stand out as if highlighted with spotlights in my memory.

this was a common photo taken on thanksgivings. this year, i cannot help but feel hollow by their absence. somehow, the warm fuzzy holiday feeling simply simmers underneath, as though its waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. i wonder if all future holidays will feel the same.

when i was young and holidays still felt like novelties i would make long lists of the things i was thankful for. somehow writing them down made me feel accomplished, as though simply recognizing them was the goal. now that we’re older i think we see that the goal is so much bigger than that. to be thankful for the things that you have is so much bigger of a task for an empathetic heart. sometimes i feel overwhelmed by all the things i have to be thankful for. the people mostly, because really – thats what is most important to your life- isnt it? how you show the amount of appreication you have for the people in your life that have moved you, shaped you, loved you, inspired you, and have made you in so many ways the person you are.

so this year i am thankful.

i am thankful for my parents, and the unconditional love and support that they show me on a daily basis. who have been my heroes, my advisers, my friends.
my grandmothers, who have shown me a strength of spirit. each role models to women in their own right.
my aunts, uncles and cousins who have taught me about being a family. the connections with whole groups of people you may only see a few times a year, if that – but with whom you share a special bond, and special memories. whose love and sense of comfort never changes.
my nephew, and the chance i have to be in his life and to be the connection he has to my sister. i am thankful for his health, his happiness and his youth – that he is too young to understand the gravity of his life story.
for my new “foster sister”. a woman who has shown me what it is to be selfless and to care for those that need it. who has given a good home and so much love to my nephew. who has given so much comfort to my parents.
for my best girl friends. the ones i giggle and share secrets with. the ones that know me, that can call me on my bullshit. the ones that care for me fiercely, as i do them.
for my job that- for now- is keeping me afloat and able to live by myself in the area i have come to love. that surrounds me with clever, creative, fantastic people on a daily basis. who’s easy going atmosphere and ice cream fridays i adore.
barack obama, who has given me hope that the values of my generation will have a voice in the government of the future, and that our policies will be handled with thoughtfulness, intelligence and character in a compassionate manor.
sub-bombin records. a collection of artists, a couple of which i have come to know, most of which i have been able to see live several times, all of whom have inspired me to find my voice, to explore new creative outlets, and connect with those who are driven, impassioned and most importantly- in love with music, as i am.
the pub, that has in many ways become a second home, if only for the collection of people i have befriended there. i am thankful for their cheap drinks and smoking allowances. for their pool table and dart board and jukebox filled with tunes that remind me of home growing up. i am thankful for the constant promise of company and conversation, shared joys and pains and many laughs not soon forgotten.

and i am so very very thankful for all of my friends. there are so many that exist in the collection of people i keep in my heart. some of them are those that are closest to me, or have been closest to me in the past, that all know- as i do- that we each already have our own corners in the hearts of each other. some of them are people i’ve known throughout the years, from time to time, in the different chapters of my life. some of them are people i’ve not known long, some i’ve just met, some i know only from certain places, all of whom are special to me in some way. they have touched me, or i’ve connected with, related to or confided in them in some way that just stays with me.

i am thankful for that. and so very thankful for you.

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