Join us as Ethan Stone goes Outside the Margins.
Not So Happy Holidays
I can admit it. I’ve become The Grinch. I just don’t truly enjoy this time of year. The crowds, the materialism, all the freaking yard decorations. Christmas time used to be one of my favorite times of the year, not just when I was a kid but even as I got older and had my own young ‘uns.
It was my mom’s favorite time of the year. She always went all out. Huge tree covered in ornaments. Holiday decorations on the walls, lights outside. You name it. And in my own household it was the same. I have dozens of pieces of a Christmas village: houses, churches, shops and more. As soon as Thanksgiving was over I was putting the city up on various surfaces such as bookshelves, mantels and one year I took over our dining table.
Then six years ago my mother passed suddenly. She had been in pain from arthritis and fibromyalgia but those don’t cause death so it wasn’t a possibility in my head. Her death shocked the entire family and changed us forever. She provided the connection between me, my dad and two brothers because none of us have ever liked talking on the phone. Now all of that was gone.
Every year, the spirit of the entire holiday season is dampened by my mother’s absence. In October I’m reminded of her death, in November I remember her birthday, and in December all I can think about is how it was her favorite holiday. It’s tough to enjoy the holidays when I’m thinking about the woman I loved so much.
Then things got even harder November of 2013. My brother, who was only three years older than me, died unexpectedly. In a weird coincidence my brother’s birthday was in October and, like I mentioned earlier, my mother’s birthday was in November. It added even more grief to a time of year that was already incredibly hard to get through.
Last year there wasn’t a Christmas tree in the house. My son was at his mother’s and on the day after Christmas my dad took off on his annual three month trip in his RV. I just didn’t see a reason to decorate, plus I sure as hell wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. I was still deeply mourning my brother and it was hard to get up every morning.
This year I vowed things would be different. My brother hadn’t been into the holidays at all, but I didn’t want be the Scrooge he was. Or the Grinch I’ve been transforming into. As much as I love the smell of a real tree, I can’t stand the clean up so I crawled up into my dad’s attic and pulled down the fake one as well as all the ornaments and decorations.
I wasn’t quite prepared for the flood of emotions that would go with looking at the stuff my mother had adored so much. After I put the lights on but before the ornaments went on I realized it was the first time since her death that the décor had come out. Each item brought on memories. The Hallmark ornaments she enjoyed buying each year. The stuff my brothers and I had made as children. The Nativity scene she had put out every year. So. Many. Memories.
Though I couldn’t quite go all out like she had done, I did finish decorating the tree and set up a few of her favorite snowmen on the mantel between the urns of her and my brother. The Nativity stayed packed away. Her collection of Hallmark rocking horse ornaments did too. Maybe next year.
I love you, Mom. I love you, Kevin. Miss you both so much.
~ Ethan Stone
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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