Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas…

dsc00758…without the one you love. Whit pointed out to me the other day that I haven’t so much as picked up a Christmas ornament since December 2001. That was the last Christmas my mama was with us. There are three times of the year that I just get unbearably sad and so lonely that I could just die. Christmas is one of them. (Mother’s Day and the anniversary of her death are the other two.)

My mama loved Christmas. It was always huge at our house. She’d start baking weeks in advance. There’d be a minimum of four cakes, half dozen pies, cookies, homemade candy and fruit by the pound. She’d start putting our toys on layaway in July so we never had a ‘welfare Christmas,’ even though we were certainly poor enough to have been ‘on the county.’ 

Even after we got grown she loved Christmas. One of her favorite things to do was drive around and see all the lights and decorations. It was no coincidence that the first time I really broke down and sobbed after her death was in the Christmas department at Kmart. I looked at the Martha Stewart ornaments and all I could think about was how much my mama would’ve loved them. I collapsed on the floor and just bawled, holding a cardinal ornament in my hand.  

Damn you Mama. Why couldn’t you have loved you as much as I loved you? You always said I was strong enough to not need you, and that’s why you put all your effort into those other folks. Just like everybody else, you didn’t really know me. I needed you then, and I need you now. I need you when I lie awake at night scared to death that I’m doing everything wrong with Luke. That I’m going to ruin him and he won’t turn out to be the wonderful young man I know he can be. I need your calm assurance that despite everything, I am a good mother. I need you to see me, Mama. I need you to read my books and be proud, and tell me they’re too dirty. I need you to drag me kicking and screaming out of whatever corner I manage to hide myself in. You were my anchor, my backbone. You taught me to be afraid and do it anyway. Now all I have is fear. How could you? You knew for years that you had cancer and you didn’t tell me. Damn you, Mama. I need you so much. I know you were tired. I know I’m a selfish bitch, but Oh God, I need you. 

I keep thinking that it’ll get better. That I’ll get some of my old enthusiasm back, but in fact it seems to get worse. As Luke gets older I imagine what she would’ve thought of him and my soul aches. I could care less about shopping. I have no idea what we’ve got for him. Other than Luke I haven’t bought a thing for anybody, and have no intentions of doing so. 

I know I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to shake this if only for Luke’s sake. We haven’t really done Christmas at home in a while. I think next year I’ll insist on staying at home. Maybe that will force me out of this despondency, I don’t know what else could work. 

The photo is from Luke’s First Christmas, in December 2004, he was six months old. This is one of my favorite pictures of him. I made the Boppy cover so that it would coordinate with the quilt and the rest of the nursery I made for him.

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9 thoughts on “Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas…

  1. Luke is so adorable! I can relate to feeling un-Christmas-like. I’ve been in a holiday funk since my grandmother (who raised me) passed in 2002. My kids are big kids, so they take the lead on decorating. If it was up to me, I would probably just stack the gifts in the corner.

  2. Poor Whit, I’ve been dumping the responsibility on him. We’re going back to Huntsville this year, but next year I think we need to stay home. I’ve got to shake these doldrums before Luke realizes just how crazy I am.

  3. I’m tearing up at this. My mother was very, very ill a few years back and I thought she was going to die. I was a mess.

    We lost my granffather a few months back, and my mother, who ALWAYS loved and got excited about Thanksgiving, just didn’t feel like doing anything this year.

    It’s funny how you can lose someone so important to you and yet the world keeps chugging right along. The day of my grandfathers funeral was a gorgeous spring dat and I remember driving past people enjoying their lunches at sidwealk cafes.

    I’m very sorry about your mother. I don’t know how I’ll survive when that time comes for me.

  4. This is such a wonderful picture of your little miracle. I hope that in time, you will be able to enjoy this holiday with Luke and share with him some of the wonderful traditions and more importantly the love you shared with your mom during the holiday season. Perhaps, he will one day feel a special connection to her during the holidays.

  5. I am sorry for your pain. My mother passed in 2002 and I miss her around this time of year as well. It just never really seems to go away,every song reminds you of something.

  6. Roslyn, I lost my Mom in 1992, the year before my Mom passed my best friend lost her mom and she was coping so well. I told her I was sure I would fall apart if anything happened to mine. Like you I was very close to my Mom. However after the initial sadness, all my memories and thoughts about her have been wonderful. I have five sisters, I’m the oldest. We do not plan it but every holiday we’re together and we always discuss my mom, we remember all the crazy, wacky, fun things she would do and say. Honestly it is the best time; our children laugh and share their memories as well. Do I still miss her, absolutely, but it never makes me sad. Perhaps if you shared all your memories of her with your family, it would make you feel better, tell Luke all about his grandmother, when your shopping say your grandmother would love this….hopefully he will come to know her through your memories. My granddaughter was born after my Mom died, but at times she tells me she feels like she really knows her, just listening to us talk about her.

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