Embracing the Holiday Spirit After Loss

After the loss of my mother back in December of 2002, I lost my enthusiasm for the holiday spirit.  Growing up as a child, Christmas was one of my favorite holidays.  As an only child, I have fond memories of grand Christmases with beautifully decorated trees, presents, treats for Santa, and opening presents early on Christmas morning.  When I lost my mother at the age of 24, I was the mother of a 4-year-old child.  I went through a deep depression, and frankly I think that is when my bi-polar disorder reared its ugly head.  As a parent to a young child, I still had to hold it together and celebrate the holidays and maintain a sense of normalcy for his sake.  I must admit, I was relieved when he would spend the Christmas holiday with his father.  Christmas was difficult for me, but it was important to me that I give him the same special Christmases that I had as a child. 

As my son got older, less interested in Christmas and realized that Santa Claus was not real, my pseudo Christmas spirit waned off.  The holiday decorations become less and less to the point where there was no longer a Christmas tree or stockings.  There was always an exchange of presents, but the decorations and holiday spirt had faded away.

This year the holiday spirit came to me.  I did not decorate, but I was compelled to do things for others, which is what the holiday spirit is about to me.  I decided to send off Christmas cards to people who are in mental hospitals, and I also donated new winter coats to children in need.  These things made me feel so good. I got to focus on someone other than myself. I had a renewed sense of the holiday spirit. 

I made the decision rather late this year, that come next year, I am going to put the past behind me and embrace the holidays.  I can never forget the past and how it has shaped me, and helped me become the person that I have grown into.  Next year, I want to fully embrace the Christmas season complete with decorations and all the trimmings. 

I am very hopeful about my continuing road to recovery and what’s to come.  I look forward to all the new possibilities that awaits me.

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