For the past decade or so, I'd always write some kind of post/missive about how lucky I was and how much I enjoyed the holidays - memories of the past, and the promise of the present.
This year was so much different - this year was the first in 14 years I spent apart from my wife. And I must be honest here, it hurt so much more than I thought it would. I really struggled to get through the season. I'd come to associate this time of year with family and love - and how lucky I was to have her and later our children in my life. But with Covid keeping me apart from my extended family, and the dissolution of my marriage keeping my family separate.. it's hard. I wish I could fully enunciate how sad my soul was this year - and how much I struggled to keep it together, keep it merry and fun for my kids, and try my best to feel what cheer I could of this season. We'd arranged it so I'd have the kids the day before Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Eve day; I'd bring the kids back to her the evening of Christmas Eve and they'd spend Christmas Day with her and her family. So Christmas happened on Christmas Eve in my house. I'd wrapped a few presents I'd gotten, and my parents brought some over that they got. I made sure to stuff their stockings full of little gifts and candy. I put on Christmas music in the morning and they excitedly opened presents... We played with toys. They seemed to have fun; my parents came over and gave them gifts. But for me, there was a joy missing. My wife brought a real love of Christmas into my life, and always seemed to bring the joy of season into our house. That was missing in my life this year, and it was sorely missed. After I took the kids to her, I came home, and saw some of the Christmas Carnage - wrapping paper, toys strewn about. Half eaten candy laying about. Christmas Music still playing - I noted my stocking. Lovingly labeled "Dad" just sitting there, empty, devoid of anything where in previous years it overflowed with gifts. Christmas Day, I spent alone. A lonely man, in a cold lonely house. No presents to open. It was really difficult, and probably the lowest I have ever felt. Losing something like that in your life is so hard. The little things you used to have in relationships mean so much more when they're gone. I hope the coming years I can re-find my joy of the season. This year, I had a lot of sorrow in my heart, and that's hard to live with. But I'm trying to focus on the good in my life. It's hard, and I'm gonna need a minute to indulge and acknowledge the sad before I move on to a new life in 2021. I know this year has been hard on so many. I just pray that the next year is better for all of us, and we all find just a little bit more happiness in our lives.