Merry or no?


I have the pleasure of being home, for several days, sitting on my couch and having unlimited naps. I don’t have to drive or do strenuous chores and I get to eat chicken soup, Jell-O and popsicles. Sounds pretty merry to me.

Even though I am recovering from pre-holiday gallbladder removal surgery, there are a lot of perks to being laid up at home. It is an excuse to relax, enjoy the opportunity to clean out the inbox on my computer, write articles and take in endless recorded Christmas movies. I apologize, in advance though, as I am writing under the influence mild pain narcotics.

I was planning to write before I went in for surgery, but all I could think about was writing my last words, just in case I didn’t come out of the anesthetic. Since my daughter thought that was pretty morbid, considering it was the article that would be published Christmas week, I decided to wait to see if I made it through.

I am happy to say that the staff of the hospital was wonderful and I am home to tell about it. I felt that the experience was overwhelming positive, I was well informed and I am hoping that my recovery is just as smooth. I am so grateful to have that piece of my body out, which has been apparently making me sick for a year.

During prep; however, I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation next to me that a patient’s cancer had spread to a brain tumour. I felt sad that the news was so devastating, especially at this time of year. I also realized that curtains, drawn around our hospital bed, does not offer much in the way of patient privacy.

My mind then wandered to all of the people who would be spending their holiday in the hospital or visiting loved ones. I also thought about all of the people who would be spending Christmas alone or grieving the loss of a loved one, at this special time of year.

For those of you who may not be feeling very merry, for whatever reason, it may be helpful to know that that many people are in the same boat. Some dread the looming weight gain, from all of the delicious holiday treats, some dread having to work, some dread having to be immersed in toxic family drama, some dread the financial hangover that will follow the holidays, some dread being triggered to the impact of a past divorce, death, breakup or separated family members.

Holidays tend to include more days off, than normal, with the accompanying extra time for reflection. We sometimes create that never-ending list of all of the reasons as to why our holidays are going to miserable. In addition, holidays tend to include more consumption of alcohol, which can intensify our emotions. Holidays can also bring us in contact with people and circumstances that we may not normally have to deal with, the rest of the year.

As I sit here with a cotton ball taped to the top of my hand, wearing my fluffy socks, in my tank top and housecoat covering my wound dressings and with an empty banana popsicle wrapper next to me, I hope that you can still take me seriously as I wish for you a holiday that is special for you, in some way.

If you are grieving, may you bring out your favorite photo albums and smile at the wonderful memories which still live in your heart. If you are alone, may you telephone, email or send thoughts and prayers to others who may be in the same situation with hope, kindness and compassion sent their way. If your child is spending the holidays with their other parent or other side of the family, may you take the time to do something kind for yourself and make the most of your quiet time.

If you are sitting in a hospital or hospice room, next to a loved one who is dying, may you know that your presence in their lives is bringing them a sense of peace and love, because you are with them. If you are hurting, in any way, may you know that I am thinking of you, in this very moment and sending the strongest and most positive energy your way that you are able to find something to be thankful for.

In the past, I have used an uplifting exercise, which has worked to lift my spirits. I have taken a large mason jar, basket or bowl and filled it with small pieces of paper listing positive holiday memories, things I am grateful for and anything that makes me smile. I then place the container, under my tree.

When I am feeling anything less than merry, I light a candle, turn on the Yuletide holiday log, with Christmas music, on the television and read what is contained on the slips of paper. It works like a charm, every time.

I hope that, even if everything is not exactly as you had hoped, that you will still create some new positive memories and enjoy bits and pieces of your holiday season. Soon, it will be over. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

‘In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’ ~ Dave Barry