Saturday, December 25, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas

I would like to share with you one of my families traditions.  When we were so exhausted and just hoping everyone would go to bed, we'd all gather round with a warm cup of hot chocolate.  The kids would then wait for me to recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to them.  We did this up til their late teens!  

My husband would sit with the kids while I did my recital filled with as much excitement as I could make it!  It's sad, but not really.  Old traditions make way for new ones.  I do miss my husband, but I know he will always enjoy this recital every year.  

So have a nice time this Christmas and I hope everyone is blessed in some way!

Twas the Night Before Christmas
By Clement Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tis the Season...Is it a sweet bitterness?

Tis  the season to be jolly, falla lah lah lah, tee dah dah dah!

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a young female in a position to help others.   I had called to find out if assistance existed for my particular situation.  One does not know until you ask.

I was explaining my situation what I needed, what do to get help, if help existed, when this woman said, "Oh, it's okay to be bitter, it's completely understandable."

SCREECH.  Seriously an abrupt halt in my thoughts.  My mouth dropped open, I bit my lip and thought back...exactly what in all this did I say that might lead a person to interpret it to bitterness.  If I needed help with bitterness, I think I'd probably go to a counselor.  After quickly thinking in my head back on what I said, I could not for the life of me connect "bitterness" to any statements made.  I am not bitter about it, concerned, yes, but bitter, no.

So I did what I have not done, ever, in my life.  I asked.  "Bitter?  What do you mean its okay that I'm bitter, Would you mind explaining to me what you mean?"  I decided to make her responsible for her statement.  If I sound bitter I need to know.  I don't want to do bitter.  Maybe my situation and trying to explain it sounded like complaining which is like bitterness?

She went into explanation:  "Well, you lost your husband and you are widowed, he didn't set you up and now you are in need of help.  He left you.  All widows are bitter people I see it all the time.  Its okay because I broke up with my boyfriend who cheated on me and it makes me bitter too, so I understand. Breaking up with someone is a loss also"

Wow.  Now I'm thinking:  What happy pill did she take today?  Maybe the break-up happened quite recently?  Taking a very deep breath and saying very many ohmmmm's in my mind before responding: "It is sad when a man cheats, it hurts.  What concerns me is your statement...all widows are bitter people.  Is this truly how you think of me.  Do I sound bitter?"

Silence.  Then, "I didn't mean to bother you with my problems.  But you need to admit that you are a widow and are bitter from the experience.  He should have "set" you up for life.  Unfortunately he did not, and now you have to ask for help which is something you don't do."

WOW.  Actually it's true, I'm accustomed to trying to do things myself before asking for any help.  I am incredibly uncomfortable with this.   But, no, now I am what is called mad.  Its called anger.  What an incredibly generalized statement.  How dare you say that about my husband.  Is this how those of us who lose a loved one are perceived?  We are automatically bitter?  Or this gal is having a real bad day and thought to make mine worse by insulting my husband?  How dare she belittle my husband he is not here to defend himself.  I have to do it.  The thoughts rushing through my head made me pivot.  My husband was a hard worker.  He did the best he could.  It's not his fault I can't seem to get my life together.  Which I thought I was.   It was not his nor God's fault he fell ill and passed on.  No one has control over this.  So why would this cause me to be bitter or hate anyone?  I may have gone through a bitter stage long ago feeling abandoned, yes, but we can snap ourselves out of that.

I let the conversation end.  I didn't even defend my husband to her.  Why bother?  She was convinced of his guilt.  I did however, have the question in my mind I sound bitter, do I act bitter.  Do I walk around and personify bitterness?  What if I do and am not aware of it?  Lord, no wonder some folks suffer from neurosis.

I turned to a few others who are widowed and asked them if they went through a bitterness that others saw and they didn't.  Amazingly, the response from each was, "No, actually I was never bitter, but many of my closest friends assumed I was going to be bitter.  It was insulting and hurt.  You're being accused of being bitter aren't you?  Are you alright?  Would you like to talk about it?"

This was intense for me.  I had to think.  I agree with stages.  I have seen my own stages.  I can also see where my anger almost turned to sweet bitterness taking hold. But, just where are some individuals getting the idea that being bitter is a necessary stage to progress through?  Therefore, all, widows/widowers are probably bitter.  I begin to question myself, and no, I don't need to start the self doubt.  Situations cause bitterness.  I can see where some situations I have gone through I picked up a bit of bitterness.  So I need to let go of that. 

I was stunned to learn that we are often thought of as bitter individuals automatically.  It's sad.  Most widows I have met are actually quite strong, resourceful, and incredibly graceful individuals.  We plod on through life in our own way.   Let go.  This idea of "bitterness" seems to crop up when we try to take control of a situation we need to deal with.  Suddenly, no matter what you say or how you proceed, you are thought of as a "bitter" widow.  LET go.  Funny thing: if you get perturbed and try to defend yourself, you are acting bitter.  So, not much can be done about this one.  It is situations like this, and generalized comments that will cause a bitterness.  LET GO.  I could feel my mind reeling and looking for answers.  I don't think there are any.  I think I just ran into someone having a bad day.  If I was bitter, most individuals would avoid me and not stop to say hello.  I should think anyway.  I'm letting this one go!  Yes, this is one to let go otherwise, bitterness will well up.  Done.  I am letting go!  Okay.  Let go.

I don't know about anyone else, but I do know, life goes on.    The eggnog on sale is as sweet as I remember!   It is sad I do not have my husband with me, but I will make it through the holidays once again! :)


Three more days.  Will I get it all done?!!  Hey!  Who cares!!  The world will not end!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Egocentrism or Survival?

What drives us as individuals?  Is it the need to support a family yet have enough to enjoy your life when our children grow up and move away?  Is it a natural survival?  Is it egocentrically focused to have more than another? 

The last two years, I've been observing more egocentrism than I ever have in my life.  I began to wonder how one moves to another?  Common decent working folks or those who survive doing the best they can, and then the egocentric maniacs.  What happens? 

Most of us are taught to seek those goals and grab them.  Seek out better.  Make higher wages.  We are driven to do better.  Some of us are taught, always do your best, so our goal is to always do our best no matter what our situation is.  A dear friend told me her father was doing the very best he could to support his family.  He had to take a job sweeping the street.  Rather than be humiliated, he went and swept those streets and was the best at it.  Take pride in what you do no matter what it is.

As widows/widowers, many of us struggle to just keep on going.  We are doing our best, and then through other people's perspectives, we're not doing enough.  We are failing because we are doing "life" wrong. Have you noticed most of them having this perspective are not widow's or widowers?  Keep this in mind when you are thought of as a screw up.  Look at the source, betcha they haven't been there done that yet like we are.  We are all so different, but when someone is trying, and that thing called "life" doesn't go the way it is supposed to, how can we be held responsible.  Learning takes awhile when you've lost everything in your life because you have to begin again.

We go through life just surviving doing the very best we can.  We were taught to do the best you can no matter what.   Some of us, at one time, raised families and when life was supposed to finally focus on each other, our significant other passes on.   Too soon it seems because your still very young, yet, for females, we aren't.  At this age I'm talking mere forties, we are "spent" in societies eyes.  It isn't as easy to start over.  Yet we know we have value and we have far more life.  Life was just going to begin in a new way. 

Depending on the situation, we may be set up financially or we may be absolutely extinguished.  We may be the type where no matter how hard we try, we are stuck in survival mode.  We're exhausted, spiritually drained and feel completely demoralized.  We are nothing but shadowy wisps walking in this life's realm trying to pay that next bill or where we will lay our heads to sleep.  We go around corners not looking because we really don't want to know.  I mean one knows its probably not going to be something that will bring us joy, but what if it is?  We are constantly told not to lose hope.  What if our happiness is just around that corner?  So, we go around that corner, again, and what is there, is there.

What exactly happens that turns all this into egocentric demands on ourselves?

When I lived with my grandparents I was always told, "Never mind what the Jone's have.  If you always want what the Jone's have and try to keep up with them, you will be forever tangled working on demands you will never be able to fulfill.  You'll be greedy and jealous.  Someone will always have something you don't."

I believe falling for "trying to keep up with the Jone's next door" is a good definition for egocentric behaviors.   Egocentrism at its finest not only hurts your personal spirituality, but also will hurt those you ruthlessly expire just to get what the Jone's have.  Including your loved ones.  The Jone's drive up in new cars, go on vacations, flaunt their properties, laugh, are happy, it just continues on.  Now, see, this is what happens when we try to keep up with the Jones.  That is what we "see."  We have just under-dogged ourselves.

I drive around and see the beautiful Christmas lights on the houses.  Oh so pretty.  Then pull up to my humble, quiet humble, broken, in disarray, disheveled yard, old fence and dark abode.  I sit in the car, not a nice one, but it gets me around and think, I want  lights too. 

Wow, there I go.  I just under-dogged myself when I really am trying to just survive.  In reality they don't do it to show off, they want the lights to be enjoyed!  I actually go and drive around and look at the lights.  Of course I want lights, who wouldn't want something pretty that everyone is enjoying?!!  Yes, of course it's showing off, but some are truly sincere and want to cheer folks up and remind them its Christmas.
  • If I bought a string of lights for outside the house...electricity bill?  Don't need more problems.
  • Am I going to be happy after I get that string of lights?  Knowing the repercussions of the lights?
  • When I pull up, in my working but needs help car, will I be happier because those lights I had to buy causes me financial stress at a time when all bill collectors are at their most aggressive?
  • Now I'm worried about the car too?
No, my grandparents were right and very wise.  A person fixated on having what someone else has will go to any extremes to get what they want.  It won't stop at one, the list will only grow.   If you think about it, we can unknowingly cause ourselves subjugation to egocentric behavior.  We'll not only hurt ourselves but others too cause we don't care if we hurt others including our loved ones.  We want what those other people have because we want to be happy too and that is supposed to cause our happiness.  We're sad.  We've lost everything and no matter how hard we try, its not going to be the same.  Our spirit and heart anguish for a moment, just a brief moment, of hope and happiness. 

Well here it is:
  • From material found, along with thread and needle, I am able to create some gifts and not just for Christmas.  Maybe I can sell some of the items.  
  • I do have lights, and lights that will not cost so much.  Candles!  They are called going to the local second hand store or dollar store and buying some very cheap votives.  Turn off all the have a warm glow of home.  You have light.
  • More items found and guess what, you may be able to create other items, that will eventually give back a little something.  If not in monetary importance, the importance of giving this to someone who is having a hard time like you.  You too can cheer a person up and give hope.
So yep, I'm poor, live in a very old trailer needing repairs, typing on a computer that is not mine, on the very edge up giving up and just leaving and living in the car.  But I think about it and for another few days I will realize how very blessed I am right now.  I can reduce thinking about how I am going to pay those collectors, I want them paid, but I can't bleed money.  Taking the time to do something crafty, artsy, or plain imaginative lumps of whatever, I can decrease my stress even for a little bit.  It'll give me hope and happiness no matter how small.  It might be a gift, it might be worth a few dollars and it will give me a purpose.  The stress will be somewhat relieved.  Best of all, I am not fixating on what I do not have!  The under-dogging has decreased and actually much improvement, no matter how small, will start shining through.

Please don't let the holidays get to you this year my friends.  Lets make a new start and challenge ourselves.  Society may see us as "spent" but we don't have to obligate to change our name to Jones.  Those of us who have had everything taken leaving us feeling demoralized and in shock have to start over.  This means learning.  We may be learning over, but lets try to learn right and be a support to each other.  Those of you who get A's please tutor those of us receiving lower!  Lets not fall prey to egocentrism yet celebrate survival.

12 more days to get this stuff done.  Count down has began.  We will survive!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Did I say I liked Christmas?!!

Well, so far in the past few days, I have accomplished a great deal.  I'm happy I am actually doing something.  Now I am so tired I wonder if I really said the words, "I like Christmas, it's always been my favorite."

What I haven't done:
  • No Christmas decorations.  No biggie.
  • Still have to buy more of those things called Christmas cards.
  • Slept much, but like I really do that well anyway.
What I have done since last blog:
  • Designed, cut out, and have prepared a pair of beaded smoked moose hide slippers.  Now to bead.
  • Picked out material for a dress shirt, it was cotton so washed, dried, and ironed ready to be cut.
  • Picked out material for a fleece jacket to make.  Thank-god it doesn't have to be ironed.
  • Found much of my materials, some I had forgotten I actually had.
  • Gathered all my husbands shirts and gave them to my son.  
Not bad, could be worse.  Oh and I found Mr. Snowman.  You plug him in and he sings Frosty the snow man and moves his head, waves his arms, and you flip a switch, and he just stays happy, well lit, and quiet.  Now this is a man I could share my home with this year!

I also had the honor of helping my daughter with her wedding website.  And dealt with the drama's that start at 7:00 am and last til I shut off my phone at 11:00 so I can get some work done!  Oh and I cleaned the bathroom and did two loads of laundry.  Going through and getting rid of even more!!  Putting them in bags and maybe someone having a yard sale will take them!

Now, if I could just find the money to pay my bills, medications, rent, all that, I think it may be okay for a bit!
Lets see what the next few days bring.  The drama is really dragging me down to a low.  But I am having a better time of dealing with it!  December 6th, I wonder if I'll make it without breaking down?

Hope everyone else is doing a little better too.  I thought I didn't do much, but seems I did more than I thought!  I guess it can be done.  Just when is the sad, lonely and disappointment going to set in?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Surviving The Holiday

Surviving the holidays has been a challenge for me.  Christmas was my favorite holiday.  It still is, but I have no one to celebrate with.  So I haven't been decorating.  Maybe this is the problem.

Reasons I like to decorate:
  • Its my favorite holiday
  • The lights make me feel happy
  • The trees smell good and makes me happy
So why would I stop taking part in something that gave me so much joy?  It was my husbands favorite holiday too.  Maybe I am feeling guilty that I am here and he is not?  I suppose questions could be posed until the cows come home, and there probably isn't an answer to any.

This year, I will decorate.  I'm also making some gifts.  I haven't even picked up my art or any hobbies, all the things that gave me joy,  since his death.  Its time to stop this nonsense. 

I wonder sometimes if other widows/widowers go through this same situation?  Is the joy gone for others? 

 As I said, I name my "void."  This year the void will be subjected to Christmas decorations.  The Void will be subjected to the sewing machine, beading, and homemade cookies.  Even if I have to eat them myself. 

Anyone else want to make some cookies too?  Lets do this!  All of us who have had the joy knocked out of us, lets celebrate this year.  Make a star and hang it.  Plug in a set of lights.  Burn a Christmas candle!  Let's all have a beautiful Christmas even if we are alone.  It can be done!

I'm going to make it a point to write more this month because I have been avoiding "the" holiday.  Every time I make something or do something Christmas I'm going to write about it.  Seems silly, but this alone is a large accomplishment.  There, I've put it in my blog that's public.  So now I must follow through!