And just like that Christmas has come and gone.
The presents have been opened. The guests have all gone home. All the holiday madness and stress and to-do’s have been taken care of.
It happens so fast, doesn’t it?
I always get a touch of the post Christmas blues, but this year it seems to be worse than usual. To be honest, I think I’m going to miss the distraction of Christmas almost as much as the holiday itself. For one month, I was able to throw myself into shopping, and baking, and houseguests, and wrapping, and silly movies. For one month, I could focus on something other than heartbreak, and being alone, and all the pain and scary unknowns that come along with it.
It was hard not to compare this Christmas with those of years before. There were plenty of times when I felt the sting of this divorce loud and clear. I mean, who would have thought writing just one name instead of two in the “From” line on a gift tag could feel like a stab to the heart? Yeah… I didn’t see that one coming either.
But no matter what painful reminder popped up, there was always something waiting to shift my focus. I don’t think I realized just how much I was using this season to avoid reality until my parents left Christmas Day morning to make the long trip back home to Michigan.
The house was empty and quiet.
The only things left sitting under the tree were fallen needles.
There were no more meals to prepare or errands to run.
I had the house to myself and nothing on the agenda, but I felt like I needed something to do.
So I did some laundry, and I washed the floors, and I took Alice on a long walk in the snow. And when we came in, I lit a fire in the fireplace and finally just allowed myself to do the one thing I had been avoiding all December long.
I sat down on the couch and had myself a good long cry.
I cried for all the Christmas traditions that I had to say goodbye to. I cried for all the ornaments that I couldn’t bear to put on the tree. I cried for all the memories of all the Christmases past. I even cried for those stupid little gift tags with only one name on them in the “From” line.
And then I’m pretty sure I cried because I was crying on Christmas Day. Ha!
Which all sounds completely awful, I know – but it wasn’t. It was something that clearly needed to happen – I felt more at peace after that good long ugly cry than I have all season.
It reminded me of a little quote I came across recently that read, “Let it hurt. And then let it go.”
So much wisdom packed in such a simple statement.
Don’t you think?