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Holiday Confession

by Kathy of "Kissing the Frog"
Photo by: Shutterstock

Confession: I dread the Christmas Holiday.

Yep, you read that right: I’m dreading the holiday season.

I know that is un-American or un-Christian or un-human or just plain un-something.

But I have my reasons. One of them is my son, Joey.

In 2009, when Joey was just five years old, he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He battled bravely for 14 months, until his death in 2010 at age six.

He’s not here. He will never be here again. Of course, it hurts every day, but it hurts so, so much right now. Right this moment.

Because he will always be five years old to me. He will always be exuberant and enthusiastic and creative and the only one not afraid of Santa.

He will always be the one who loved Christmas songs and sang “Jingle Bells” to the whole family, even when he was sick.

He will always be the one who surprised me with his gift requests because they weren’t simply things he saw in a catalog, but they were things that meant something to him. Things that were original.

So Joey.

For the past two years, I have pulled out his ornaments – the ones made by his hands, bearing his face, or that were purchased with him in mind.

And I have cried.

I have cried on a day that for nearly 40 years, I had once loved. The day we decorate the tree. That, to me, is Christmas.

Unwrapping each ornament, I remembered where or whom it came from, and how or why it was acquired. Oh sure, there have always been some that were purchased purely for decoration sake, but most of the ornaments on my mother’s tree and on mine tell a story.

But Joey’s story just stops. And it taints a day that should be happy. A holiday that should be joyous.

I feel a bit hopeless, like there’s little of this I can change.

Hubby knows I feel this way. I started to get sad last weekend when the boys wanted to decorate the house and Hubby wanted to play Christmas music. I was sad when he suggested we not put up our Christmas lights, as they are done professionally and are quite expensive; like so many, we’ve been trying to save money. As always, he makes me see reason and makes me feel better at the same time. However, the lights did go up on the house because my husband knows that there needs to be a little magic for me, too.

Hubby said, “We need to make the holiday special for the boys.” That’s true. It needs to be magical for them. They are only little for a short time.

We talked about Christmas experiences we can have with the boys.

And we took their list to Thanksgiving dinner and discussed what the cousins and godparents and grandparents could buy; leaving us – and Santa! – with the right number of gifts.

So, I’m hopeful this year.

I know I will still worry.

I know I will still get that sick feeling.

And I know I am going to cry.

But, as always, I’m going to remember why Christmas is my favorite holiday. It’s not because of the gifts, but because of the joy and the beauty of the story about how a little baby boy was born a long time ago.

I think if I keep in mind that baby boy, and my baby boys, and teach them about love and joy, I won’t need to dread the holidays after all.

Kathy Glow is mommy, mama, and mom to five boys: four in her home and one in her heart, lost too soon to cancer. She blogs about family, and dealing with grief and depression while trying to find the silver lining, at Kissing the Frog.

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