Thoughts on being Alone on a Holiday

(These are my boys, Napoleon and Sappy. The best holiday companions ever)

I spent thanksgiving alone, all alone except for my two loving dogs. I was just too sick with the pain of surgery and a flare from one of my autoimmune diseases.

At first I was horribly sad and angry as I pictured people I knew being together, laughing, enjoying good food, and each other’s company. What I really realized was making me angry is that sickness, whether it has been my CPTSD or my physical illnesses has stolen so many holidays away from being with my son. My son is 11 now and I love spending time with him as he’s just a very unique, bright, and outside of the box kind of kid. He’s a lot like me.

The anger about that came knowing he’s with his other parents, which normally doesn’t bother me, but my son is terrified of his step mom, which he doesn’t express to any but a couple people. You see, she was substantiated on charges of abusing my son this year, but as politics go and they’re upper middle class white people, it got swept under the rug as several investigations have before this one. Every time I try to fight for my son to be truly safe, I get sick. I get so mad at my body because it’s not fair my son lives that way. There’s not much I can do in my weakened state. Honestly, it’s an extremely screwed up situation I won’t go into more as this wasn’t what I was going to write about, but it weighs heavy on my heart and does everyday I don’t see my son.

Anyway, back to being alone on thanksgiving. The thing I realized is that I had no expectations. I was just going to be lying alone in my bed, so nothing.

The thing that disappoints so many of us about holidays is we have this expectation that it will be one of the happiest days of the year, when it’s usually not. I don’t know about you, but I’ve set holiday expectations high to where I think they’ll be magical. I’ve never had a magical holiday and I usually just want them to be over so I can climb in my bed and cover my head! Perhaps that’s why thanksgiving was so great, I stayed in bed with my head covered the whole day!

It was just a good lesson in expectations. Holidays at my house in my youth usually started out ok until the liquor came out. My mom would drink too much and then my parents would get in a nasty fight where my dad probably went out and sought solace with one of his mistresses while I was left with a violently angry mom. No wonder I used to hate holidays so much. Didn’t mean to write about that either.

Anyway, the next holiday for me is Christmas. I’m doubtful I’ll have my son, so I’m not setting any expectations except I like to decorate my house. My expectation will simply be to make my home pretty and really appreciate it on the day whether I’m surrounded by people I choose or absolutely alone. I’m realizing that no matter what, it will all be ok. Nothing has to be magical. Holidays aren’t magical, it’s those tiny moments that sneak up on you, like my friend helping me so much today. That was magical.

Sorry for the disjointed post. Hopefully you still took something from it, and I especially hope you aren’t feeling too disappointed about your holiday.



2 thoughts on “Thoughts on being Alone on a Holiday”

  1. Sweet Lizzie, I think you brought up two very important points with holidays. We are brought up thing it has to be special, our images & dreams will be realized. It seems like a give,a right.
    I have been fortunate to have had a number of special ones, others mared by a family upset or health crisis & the last 10 yrs with no hope for cookig or visiting others. Yesterday, my husband & I actually went out for a quit dinner… my health was stable enough then. It was nothing like previous holidays. It was quiet, warm ,refcective & full of gratitude.
    In the years,it has been a painfuuly slow process to adjust to & find a quiet pleasure in the Moments…. without the business, excitement, and family & friends around. But with chronic illness
    Our days consist of quiet moments, unlike our past or dreams. Yet there is a spirituality there of being still, trying to pick out & enjoy the very smallthings…
    To enjoy & be greatful for….learning to love & enjoy one’s company is paramount. Today the most beautiful sight was watching the early morning sun, shining through our living room windows, splashing accross the room, lighting one object, then complimented by a shadow. The patterns shifted & moved along over time. I was grateful for the freedom of time to be, that I had a roof over my head, food & warmth… and health insurance( no lauging matter)
    Now there are building sounds from the street which I enjoy as the day begins around me even if Im not walking the streets…?finally music in the background.
    Simple but important in my life which make it special. One just needs to be still, mindfull & grateful. Louise


    1. Louise
      All of what you say beautifully conveys that even in the solitude of living with chronic illness or healing from trauma, there is life to be had and one worth living. Thank you.


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