Holiday angst is here again

The holiday season has arrived once again. This is not an easy time of year for many of us, me included. I wrote about ambiguous loss and family estrangement a few years ago, and most of what I wrote in that post in 2018 is still true. 

I walk by this holiday tree every day in December. Best holiday tree!

I don’t see or talk to anyone in my biological family to celebrate Christmas, Winter Solstice or the New Year. As time has gone on it has gotten easier to navigate the holiday season. In part because I have amazing friends and in part because I’ve continued to heal from the pain of not having close family to celebrate holidays or any major event. Therapy when done with intention and willingness to feel the pain and loss is miraculous. 

I am profoundly grateful for my circle of dear friends and my wise and able-to-hold-space-for-me-to-feel therapist that I see nearly every week to process my emotions and insights. I meet with my therapist on a Zoom-like platform, so we both stay safe as this pandemic has not ended, despite vaccines, of which I have had three jabs. Since I worked with my therapist in-person for a few years before the pandemic, moving online wasn’t difficult. I do miss being able to hug at the end of the session, since being single, I don’t get many regular hugs. 

Holiday grief

That said, every holiday season brings grief. I miss not having a guaranteed group of people with whom to share a meal and exchange gifts of appreciation. Every year, I allow myself a few hours of sadness. I cry and hug my dog Sam. I journal about the family I wish I had. I take myself out in nature to get comfort from the trees and sky. 

Fun in the sun helps

Best of all, I make an effort to create connections with the people in my life. This year my housemate Karen and I have invited my friend Jaime and her dog Polly over for Christmas dinner. On Solstice, five of us will gather at dusk to build a fire at a park. We will have mugs of soup and we will read poetry and burn things we are letting go of and things we welcome into our lives as the Earth turns toward longer days. 

This year, I am kicking off the two weeks I am taking off from my two day jobs with another trip to Siesta Key, Florida. My triathlon/running/cross country ski friend Monica, who is a teacher, got a few extra days off for the holiday break and she immediately booked a few nights at a cottage in Siesta Key. She sent a few of us a text to see who might join her. I decided to make it happen. Two nights and three days in the sunshine at the ocean is the best way to kick off two weeks of focused writing. 

I head to the warmth and sunshine tomorrow morning early! 

In Siesta Key in November. Glad to be going again!

Writing focus 

Upon my return, my schedule has two hours of writing everyday. I am nearing completion of the first draft of my book. I am SO excited to be done that devoting time over the holidays to make progress toward that goal is invigorating. Instead of dreading the holidays, I feel excited. I expect the grief will hit me at an unexpected moment. That’s okay. I will make time to cry and feel. The only way out is through as the wise ones say! 

Thanks for being a reader of my blog. I value you and our connection. I wish for you peace and calm and self-love this holiday season. If like me you feel grief, may you hold yourself and give yourself comfort and kindness. 

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4 thoughts on “Holiday angst is here again”

  1. Thanks for making your love for others and yourself crystal clear. We all need to take extra great care of ourselves after the rough last few years. It makes me smile to know you are soaking in some sun and surf to start this holiday break. Thanks for your huge generosity of spirit.

    • Linda,
      It’s simple, I value your friendship and being-ness in the world from the bottom of my heart. Thank you! And the ocean says hello to you!

  2. I wish you happy holidays Mari! I love reading your blogs. They give me inspiration and focus. And I appreciate your encouragement as a fellow athlete and as my friend. In other words, you matter so much to me Mari! Thank you for your joy and your continued search for meaning, health and happiness!
    Your friend,

    • Sheila! Thank you for your very kind words and the sentiments behind them! I feel your love and friendship all the way down here in Florida! So grateful our paths crossed and we have become friends!! Here’s to more camping trips and triathlons in our futures!

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