The Ghost(s) of Christmases Past

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Five years ago today, I moved into this house. For 24 years, this was my parent’s home. In some ways, I still think of it as my mom and dad’s house. To this day, I joke that I’m 49 years old and playing video games in my parent’s basement. I remember the day so profoundly because I was on my own. Not a soul helped me that day. You remember that kind of thing.

There was no group of people showing up to say, “Hey! How can we help?” No one opened the boxes with me. No one ordered a pizza so I could rest. I left behind copious amounts of my personal things at the other house because I couldn’t afford any more than I paid for the moving company. Yet still, I was grateful and remain so to this day. Once in a while my thoughts will drift to the things I left behind. I tried to go back and do it alone in car loads, but the house had been robbed in my absence and I was afraid, so I didn’t stay long.

Settlement would come a few days later because when there’s holiday stress, one must have the highest level of it. I signed the papers the day before Christmas Eve.

housegift

At the time, I had a strong vision of the last day I spent with my dad, the day before he left me. We were sitting in the kitchen and he put his hand on my leg, patted it and said, “This is your house now.” He was SO thrilled that I was getting myself and the kids out of that awful house we were in, so tiny, with so many things wrong with it. He left this world happy that his grandchildren would grow up in a place he so lovingly fixed up and made their own all those years. I hadn’t even applied for all the paperwork to begin when he left, but somehow, I think he knew I would get it done.

The next day, I received that awful phone call that he was gone. I drove faster than I should to be there. You see, I’d missed the day my mom passed because, well, some people weren’t willing to help me get here in time to say goodbye and that’s a story for another day. By the time I arrived, the professionals had already removed her and I wept for the loss of that moment. This time however, I would arrive to find my wonderful father, resting in his bed, passing on his terms, in his bed, in his home. This time of year, I miss him more than ever.

hope-for-christmas

Like many, I see Christmas and the whole season as a time to reflect over the past year and to hope for good times in the future. Back then, when I lost my father, I had just been through the unspeakable horror of losing my mother and husband as well. I continued on auto-pilot and did what people always expected of me: To forge on and keep making things happen. When you have kids and a home, you don’t get the luxury of feeling sorry for yourself.

Five years later, I sit here and remember the turmoil and the chaos of that time. After all I’d been through over the past several years, I was feeling quite accomplished at having bought the home on my own and taken care of all the seemingly endless work of transferring so much information, changing addresses and schools and such, somehow making it all come together just a few days before Christmas.

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I’ve long since tried to figure out, rectify, come to terms with etc all the things I’ve endured. If I spent my time thinking about this group that didn’t help me, or that person who didn’t bother or the times I needed help, asked for it and was denied, I’d quickly become bitter and miserable and stay that way. I truly don’t have time for it, nor do I want to live like that. They have to live with it, not me!

I’m so very grateful for the gifts I will be putting under the tree and the ones that can’t be wrapped. I will have all three of my children here for Christmas and that is THE best gift of all. 2017 is slated to be a year of amazing firsts for me as I begin my long awaited travels out of this country. I will be heading to new places, people and adventures and I relish every bit of the anticipation.

The one thing that I have to realize is that although I went through a lot to be where I am at this very moment, one thing is abundantly clear. I got here, I’m still here and ready for what comes next. Not everyone I cared about got to do that, so for that, I’m grateful. I’m ready for the Ghost of Christmas Future.

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