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  • Dr. Ted Klontz

Happy Holidays?

I was talking with a friend recently and she mentioned that though she had designed every aspect of her holiday season, she felt surprisingly sad.

It got me to thinking about the holidays. The first thought that came to mind was “I am not sure that there is any time of the year that would be a greater repository of sadness and loss than the holiday season”. Making it even more so is the sense that I SHOULD be happy and joyous because everything and everyone reminds us that we should be so, unless we have a good reason not to be.”

What do I mean by a repository of sadness and loss? Here are some of the reasons I would suggest that the holiday season may be less than joyous and happy:

  • I am a part of a family that has been visited by death of a loved one.

  • I am a part of a family that is no longer intact because of divorce, which means that my initial hopes and dreams have evaporated.

  • The holiday season reminds me of other years where I’ve been alone or spent a holiday feeling lonely despite being with people I know and love.A type of loneliness that comes unbidden from some unspeakable place.A sense of incompleteness and loss.

  • If I am aware that this very well may be my, or one of our loved ones, last Christmas.That I see them or myself slipping away and know that even if they are/I am still alive, a part of them/myself with the associated dreams and wishes will be forever gone.

  • If a loved one, or I have experienced a physical trauma/emergency and is spending the holiday in a hospital bed or in a nursing facility.

  • If my secret wishes that the gatherings of family and friends would end up being like my favorite movies of the season don’t ever quite come true.Instead the gathering is one that has all the makings of potential disaster.Knowing that I need to avoid certain topics or discussions with those we will be in contact with.

  • If I am now, or am reminded of other holiday seasons, for one reason or another, physically absent from the people and/or places that mean the most to me.

  • If I have moments of realizing that many in the world today will, because of hunger, or thirst, or treatable disease, political whim, religious intolerance, war, political caveat, indifference, racism, sexism, other isms and phobias, be dead before the end of the holiday season.

  • If I think, or others suggest that there is something wrong with me because we I am not a 10 out of 10 on the happy and joy scale.

  • If I have any of these thoughts, feelings or awareness’s and there is no one to hear and honor them, without trying to change them.

This list is my list. So, this holiday season is a very rich one for me. Joy, yes. Sadness, yes. A full plate. My point here is to not steal anyone’s joy of the season, but maybe speak to those fellow travelers who know they are supposed to feel joyful and (or even instead) feel the sadness and loss that the season also brings them. I wanted to speak to those who may also be feeling less than what you’re “supposed” to be feeling and let you know that you are not alone. To me, the season moves normal life into HD, 60” screen clarity.

What might you add to the list?

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