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Friday, December 23, 2016

The Christmas Blues

CHRISTMAS BLUES - I am here to tell  you that if you have the “Christmas Blues” you are not alone.  It’s hard to be sad at Christmas time, when everyone else is proclaiming that it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  For me, this is my first Christmas without my beloved Dad.  And my Dad’s birthday was December 26th.  I associated Christmas with my Dad, probably because we always had a party for him the day after Christmas.  When my husband and I bought our house (a house my Dad absolutely loved; to him it was a Palace), I started the tradition of having a big party for my Dad every December 26th.

If you have been reading my Blog, you know what a big part of my life my Dad was.  He was everything to me.  Last year was his 80th birthday.  I wanted to have a big party for him at a restaurant or a hall and hire a live band.  Several of his friends had big birthday bashes and I wanted my Dad’s to be just as special.  But he was adamant.  He didn’t want a big party, he wanted to have his 80th birthday at my house, his favorite place in the world, surrounded by family, especially his grandchildren.  And that is exactly what we had.  The whole family was there, and I made all of my Dad’s favorite dishes, from lasagna to meatballs to lemon bread.  We gave him a new Lazy Boy recliner that he absolutely loved.
Four months later, in late April, my dad went to the doctor’s for a fairly routine appointment.  He had emphysema and was having trouble breathing so they took him up to the hospital.  He was fine, joking around, making friends with the doctors and nurses as he always did.  They wanted to keep him overnight for observation and release him the next day.  I really wanted to stay overnight at the hospital but my Dad wouldn’t hear of it.  “Go home to your children, they need you, I will be fine,” my Dad told me.  He kissed me on the head, we said our I love you’s and I went home.  At 9 am the next morning, I got a phone call.  “Your dad had a stroke,” the floating voice on the other end of the phone said.  “But he’s OK, right?”  I said.  “You better come up here right away,” is all they would tell me.  My Dad died on May 3rd, one day after my wedding anniversary.  I truly believe he held on just long enough so he wouldn’t leave me on my anniversary.
Dad was buried with full military honors and I wrote more than a few blogs about the whole process and his amazing life.  
I have grieved mightily, gotten very sick, gotten better, burned through my grief with twice daily workouts, and more or less have come full circle.  With a clear and sharp hole in my heart -- but otherwise I have been fully functional and happy.  I visit my Dad frequently at the cemetery.  It’s a beautiful resting spot and I find it very comforting.
My Dad loved Christmas.  We were that family that had their Christmas lights nailed into the house year round.  Because It was never too early to turn on the Christmas lights.   He wasn’t generous, he was overly generous, especially at Christmas time.  I LOVED Christmas and never missed a Christmas with my parents. Then we would pick up the fun the next day with my Dad’s Birthday party.
I have many friends who lost someone this year.  It’s hard.  I know my father wants me to be happy and enjoy my family and my home.  I feel his presence all through my house and mostly in my heart.  Having strong faith helps a lot. But there’s no way around it.  I miss my Dad most at Christmas time.
So if you are hurting, I’m here to tell you it’s OK.  You’re not alone.  You are normal.  Whatever the reason, maybe you lost a pregnancy, a parent, a friend.  Maybe you lost your job or your house.  It’s OK to mourn, to grieve, to be sad.  In fact, it’s necessary.  If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you cannot walk around your grief, you have to face it and walk through it.  Grief is the final act of love.  In fact, it is the other side of love.  The more you love someone, the more you will grieve.
I miss you, Daddy.  But I wouldn’t trade one minute or change one thing.  Merry Christmas in Heaven.  
Photo from Christmas 1967, my Dad, Mariano Muyot, is on leave from the Navy, holding my newborn brother and I am holding on to my Dad.  
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