Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 6: Blue Christmas

blue christmas1

 The holiday season can be joyful for many, but it also brings up mixed emotions and grief. One of the sacred traditions of Ana’s Advent Calendar (in fact, the largest reason for creating this event in the first place) is to honor and welcome all whose hearts are tender at this time of year.

This month isn’t all doom and gloom, and we have plenty of laughter and silliness (Lynn, those naughty kitties were hilarious even if I do vow to exact revenge for taking my name in vain!). But in the midst of a joyful, noisy, celebratory month where the world seems to be filled with reminders of loss…this is where we come to soothe our hearts. At least I do, and for the past three years you have soothed your hearts with me.

Another tradition of Blue Christmas has been inviting a guest to write a post after losing a loved one that year. Sadly, this year many qualified.

Because talking about grief is not a typical response in many of our cultures, I’d like to offer a few brief suggestions before we begin.

1. If reading about grief triggers more emotions than you can deal with right now, it’s okay to step away. You might not be in the right place to “go there,” and there’s nothing wrong with that.

2. If reading Joanne’s post brings up memories of your loved ones (whether the loss is recent or long ago), especially those who passed away during the holiday season, please “light a candle” with us today and share your favorite story. If you have lost a loved one through estrangement rather than death, or for other reasons (such as divorce), or even if your loss is something more mundane like having to spend the holidays away from loved ones, feel free to share.

3. While this is not a support or therapy group, we have built up (already, in just a few short days) some strong connections. Please reach out to others on the thread, as you have done so far. If you can’t think of anything to say or don’t have the time, just a simple “Thank you for sharing” or “I hear you” is nice.

3. Remember that we won’t spend the entire month in grief. Tomorrow we have a cute and light-hearted day planned, and Sunday is our annual St. Knickerless Day. So if today stirs feelings that won’t easily go back into the box, trust yourself and keep coming back. We’re here. ❤

Much love to you from Ana.

And now, here’s Joanne!

Blue Christmas
It’s been difficult for me, adjusting to life without my Mother, especially when the Holidays come around, most importantly, at Christmas time.
This will be my third Christmas without my Mom but instead of getting easier, this year will be harder for me to get through than anything I can imagine.
Because on September 26th, 2015, my Father died.
~
Let me backtrack a little bit, we can use The Wayback Machine if you’d like but I prefer the TARDIS because it is bigger on the inside after all, this way we can all fit comfortably as we travel back to a small suburban town called Sayreville New Jersey some time in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. Those were the years that mattered the most, when my two brothers and I were still young enough to believe in magic yet old enough to start noticing what our Parents went through to make sure our Christmases were magical.
And oh! They were, every single one.
My Mom would decorate for weeks, beginning after Thanksgiving. I remember the annual Sears Wish Book would come and we’d fight over first-look rights, Mom shouting from the kitchen that ever familiar line, “wait till your Father gets home!” while she simultaneously baked what seemed like millions of cookies, threatening to rap my knuckles with a wooden spoon if I didn’t stop stealing the Italian Honey Balls.
How she decorated the house and somehow still had dinner on the table every night at 5pm, when Dad got home from his 40 mile drive home from work remains a mystery to me.
Dad was an ex-Navy Vet, back then he worked for Bendix Corporation, where they did things he wasn’t allowed to talk about, something having to do with the guidance systems for the Apollo rockets, including the one that first landed on the moon, but he was a company man and he wouldn’t tell us anything other than he’d met Wernher von Braun and he turned down an offer for us to all go watch the take off of Apollo 11 because he didn’t want to fly. He didn’t tell us that little nugget till years later, can’t say that I blame him, I’m such a crybaby I’d probably still be crying that I watched Apollo 11 laying elbows down on the hardwood floor in front of the old black and white instead of up close with some big-wigs in Florida.
But back to Christmas; I guess everyone says this, but it always seems like it snowed more when we were kids, especially at Christmastime.
There’s a 5 year age difference between my brothers and I, thinking back, my older brother must have been mortified at the age of 15 having to drag his 10 year old sister and 5 year old brother up the block so we could ride our sleds down the hilly snow covered streets.
The town would come around and block off the side streets during the days when a neighborhood bursting with kids were all home from school for Christmas break. It didn’t matter what you used, a wooden sled, a silver round garbage can lid, a flattened discarded box, anything would do. Dozens and dozens of red-cheeked kiddies would fly down the length of the road for blocks, sharp ice pellets stinging our little faces, eyes watering from a combination of the cold and plain unbridled joy.
We always had to be home when the streetlights came on and Christmas was no exception. Nearly every house on the street would be lit up, and we had these big wooden life-sized decorations, Christmas Carolers, a snowman family, all homemade and hand painted, and our Christmas tree was always placed in front of the living room window, multicolored lights blinking, tinsel draped piece by piece, shimmering against the backdrop of ornaments of all shapes and colors, more and more ornaments made by Mom as the years went by.
I remember my Parents would put a cardboard fireplace together, 5 stockings, each with our names on them waiting to be filled with a nectarine, a handful of nuts, all kinds of Santa-shaped chocolates and a candy cane sticking out of the top.
Bowls filled with ribbon candy and homemade cookies were on every table but come Christmas morning, nothing could rival the endless pile of gifts waiting to be torn open. We didn’t have the patience to give them out one at a time, the three of us dove in and ripped apart everything with our names on it.
We’d hurriedly dress for Church then come home to the magic meal my Mom somehow managed to put together, turkey and ham and sweet potatoes, stuffing and gravy and mashed potatoes and platter after platter of pre-dinner appetizers, celery and mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and green olives, cheeses and crackers and pies of every flavor imaginable.
Then we’d have to leave our new treasures to visit Nana and Grandpa, Aunts and Uncles and cousins filled the house and I remember the feeling of pride I felt spending my allowance on gifts for everyone. How I ever managed to spend five dollars and wind up with gifts for everyone is beyond me. But I always made my chore money stretch.
As far as our own haul, it never mattered what we got, we were grateful for everything Santa left us, although my most favorite gift ever was the year I got my own pair of ice skates. Nothing beat the freedom of flying over the ice, swirling and turning, jumping and landing smooth, the sound of the blades cutting through the ice spraying chips everywhere as the bonfire crackled and I sipped on my thermos of hot chocolate my Mom always made me before I left the house.
It was joy, love, and a feeling that will never leave my heart.
~
When my Mom passed away a few years ago, I tried my best to recreate everything she did, but my Dad was never again in the Christmas Spirit. When my Mom left us, she took a part of him with her (as well as a part of me), it took me weeks to convince him to at least let me put up a small tree in his living room but that was about it.
I made Christmas Dinner but it wasn’t the same without Mom, even though I cooked her menu, even though my food tastes exactly like her food did, it still wasn’t the same.
I’ve been worrying for months how I could make this Christmas memorable for Dad, I never expected to lose him just 3 months before Christmas.
I don’t know how I’ll make it through this year.
My relatives on my Mom’s side have disappeared without so much as a phone call or sympathy card as I grieve.
My Dad’s side of the Family consists of 2 cousins who keep in touch but live out of state.
My younger brother is now divorced and my older brother is headed down the same path.
Instead of coming together, we fell apart when my Mom died and the loss of my Dad has only made it worse.
~
Yet still, I feel Blessed. And it’s all because of you. Ana’s Advent Calendar has filled the Mom(and Dad)-shaped hole in my heart and for the first time since Mom’s gone, I find myself once again looking forward to this time of year. I am grateful for each and every one of you, for you have collectively un-Grinched my heart.
There is nothing I can do to Thank You all except to wish you all the Happiest Christmas/Holiday/Hanukah/Whatever-You-Celebrate, and offer you my undying Love and Gratitude for making the most difficult time of the year into something I once again look forward to.
You have reminded me that although it may be a Blue Christmas, there are many shades of Blue. Thank you for making my heart beat again.
~
This is a Christmas song I wrote in memory of those we have lost who remain in our hearts.
~
Feels Like Christmas
The tree’s decorated
let’s drink to good cheer
it’s not complicated
just wish you were here
I think of you,
and it almost feels like Christmas
The snow’s gently falling
the fire is bright
the carolers calling
singing Oh Holy Night
I think of you
and it almost feels like Christmas
the seasons they come and the seasons they go
time melts away like a late winter snow
I hear your voice
and it almost feels like Christmas
It feels like Christmas
when I think of you
you give me strength
you help me make it through
it feels like Christmas
when I’m in your arms
for your arms feel like home and there’s no place that I’d rather be
at Christmas

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73 thoughts on “Ana’s Advent Calendar, Day 6: Blue Christmas

  1. Sarah B says:

    I’m having a rather rough time since my brother in law took his own life on Nov 4 th just a month ago. Emotions are very intense. Even though he and I didn’t get along famously well, I’m grieving his loss hard. My sister and her son are understandably devastated and struggling much.
    I journal a lot to try and make sense of it all. I also do therapeutic coloring as a form of meditation and relaxation.

    In addition, I’m living abroad with my wife and we are spending our first Chtistmas alone. We are creating new traditions and meshing old ones of hers and mine. It is fun and helps take my mind off of the grief over my brother in law.

    My parents and siblings & I don’t get along well currently so it proves to be quite challenging all the time, not just the holidays.

    I’ve found that Ana’s Advent Calendar gives me a bit of an escape from reality and a few more laughs than i might be having right now.

    Thanks for sharing your memories, Joanne. My heart goes out to you as you face the grief of lost loved ones.

    Thank you for this post.
    ♡sarah

    Liked by 3 people

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I think when you didn’t have a great relationship, the grieving process is just as difficult in many ways and more difficult in some. We know, culturally, how to respond to, “I loved this person and now miss him/her.” We don’t really know how to respond to, “This person meant a great deal to me, but it was a mixed bag and now things are all mixed up for me.”

      We’re going to have a coloring day soon, so I hope you’ll post a photo of your creations. 🙂

      Being estranged or semi-estranged from family is hard anytime but doubly so for holidays. I’m so glad you and your wife can cherish time with each other.

      Hugs to you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • JoanneBest says:

        Coloring day???? Happy dance!!!!
        It’s true what you said about the grieving process Ana, my brothers are having a really hard time with my Dad’s death because they never got along for reasons I never understood. I was a Daddy’s girl as well as a Mommy’s girl but that may have been the middle child in me.
        Luckily, the week before Dad passed, my younger brother and Dad reconciled and ironically it was my youngest brother who was holding Dad’s hand when he passed. I was in the room, but had just walked out to use the rest room and the very second I walked back into the room and said “Hi Dad, I’m back” he passed.
        And it is very hard to be estranged from family, especially at the holidays, because of the reaction from my Mom’s family to my Dad’s passing, I can’t see past that right now, maybe in the future, but right now, my Family is who I choose, the ones who accept me as I am and most of my Family are right here, in your world, and I can’t thank you enough ❤

        Like

    • JoanneBest says:

      Oh Sarah, I wish I could hug you but since I physically can’t, here’s a huge cyber hug for you ((Sarah)) ❤ I'm so sorry about your brother-in-law, even if you didn't get along that perfectly, the loss is still felt, I can imagine your heart is so very sad for your sister and your nephew. The added fact that you are living abroad may be making you feel helpless in a way, but the good news is you have a loving wife to begin new traditions with in a new place, the possibilities are endless!
      I obviously know the pain you must be feeling concerning your brother-in-law, I know in my mind, I tend to think of all the regrets and what if's, like what if I stayed overnight at my Dad's before his Doctor appointment, would I have been able to do something instead of finding him on the floor at 9am in the morning? Why didn't I notice my Mom was hiding the way she was feeling? Could I have prevented her death, or at least put it off so she could stay here a little longer?
      Please don't let those sort of thoughts take you over. I know in my heart that everything happens for a reason, I know I will see them again when I die, but it's human nature to blame ourselves in some way, to wonder if we could have changed something that would have brought about a different result?
      I think it's wonderful that you are journaling and coloring, I've noticed more and more the adult coloring books and have in fact put it on my Christmas list. To be able to channel our grief into something constructive and beautiful can be very healing.

      It's so difficult when we aren't on the best terms with our blood family, especially at the Holidays but it's just as difficult throughout the years. I was always so proud to be a member of my Mom's family but when my Dad died and my Mother's sister told my brother she'd get up and dance a jig if her leg wasn't broken when he called her with the news it broke every shred of family ties I felt. Who says that to someone who just their Father? So what if you didn't like him, you don't say that to someone! So I've reconciled my feelings and now believe that family isn't always blood, but Family is the people we willingly choose to love, who love us back for who we are, without judgment.

      You are Blessed dear Sarah, for you have a do-over, in another country with a wife you love who loves you just as much, and you have a brand new start in a beautiful land to begin your mix of new and old traditions. I hope you take time for yourself and your wife to just be, love each other and enjoy every minute, that is what our loved ones would want.
      And of course, Christmas will always mean Ana's Advent Calendar to me. I look forward to this more than Christmas itself, for I feel love here, more than anywhere else on earth.
      You are all my Family with a capital F, and I thank God every night for the gift that is this wonderful corner of the world made by Ana, and filled with wonderful people like you. ❤

      Like

    • awesomesub says:

      Hi Sarah, I am so sorry for your loss. Maybe you didn’t get along too well as adults, but I imagine that you have good memories, too, and this is like the mixed bag Ana mentioned earlier, isn’t it? I think journaling and also colouring are great to cope somehow. Maybe I do get you on not finding sense in what has happened, in giving away this gift of life. Two years ago (18th Dec) a wonderful friend of mine died from literally starving herself to death. I am still trying to figure that out and have not found any answer yet. She left an empty spot and I am not finished filling it with the good memories we have had together. A year ago another friend committed suicide, without even leaving a note. Nobody knows why; the last time I saw him he smiled at me and was relaxed and a little cheeky, a few days later he was gone. This was 5th January and currently I hope that baby will not come on this date, as it is still too loaded with the wrong kind of thoughts for me.
      What helps me when these events come back too much is having a loved one nearby, to have someone who listens then. And this is where I am so happy for you, because you have Suzi, and it is so awesome that the two of you create your own Christmas traditions. I can see how much having her and doing things your way makes such a time better again. It makes grief more bearable.
      I am sorry for the troubles with your family, and can see the challenge you mention. This is where distance is so ambiguous, because it can be painful, but I like that it can bring a kind of calm too. Aside from that I am just happy that you have the Finnish part of your family not that far away! Hyvää joulua. 🙂

      hugs ❤

      Nina

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Julie says:

    Hi Joanne. What a beautiful song.

    I haven’t experienced what you have, but I’m moved by your ability to write about these special, joyous memories in the midst of so much heartbreak. Thank you for sharing. I hope you can continue to find comfort within those memories, and that joy, throughout the season.

    Liked by 2 people

    • JoanneBest says:

      Hi Julie! Thank you for your kind words. As I mentioned in another comment below, I wasn’t able to include the music yet but I’m trying to get it done before Christmas.

      I think I’m going to be okay this Christmas, almost all my ornaments were either made by my Mom or bought with her on one of our many Mother/Daughter trips to Cape May NJ. Coming here to Ana’s lovely home has a healing power, at least for me, the laughter and cheer, even the occasional tear keeps my heart filled with love because whenever I’m here with you all, I feel like I’m home with my true Family.
      Much love and the Merriest of Christmases (or the Holiday name of your choice 😀 )

      Like

  3. JoanneBest says:

    Before I begin to answer comments I wanted to say that I, and I’m sure everyone else, would love to hear your fondest memories of Christmases Past.
    Yes, it’s Blue Christmas time, but please feel free to talk about the happy times, I don’t want to cause anyone pain or trigger bad emotions if you are going/have gone through something similar.
    We all grieve at one time or another in our lifetime, it’s an inevitable unfortunate fact of life, but I’d love it if we could share not only the grief, but also the love, for there would be no grief if we didn’t first feel love.
    So please feel free to laugh and share funny stories about you and your loved ones, we carry our grief with us always, sometimes the load is heavier than other times, if you are grieving, please allow yourself to use this day to find comfort and joy through remembrance, because those we grieve wouldn’t want it any other way.

    PS: About the song I wrote, I initially planned on including a recording of the song (Ana’s most excellent idea of course 🙂 ) but despite my efforts and good intentions, I was unable to get it done due to circumstances beyond my control, and because I’m just the singer and don’t play any instruments without causing my cats to freak out and hide, and because the song is best heard with music behind it and acapella isn’t an option (I’m shy 😉 ) I didn’t want to post a half-hearted rendition of a beautiful song. (Keeping it SFA, I didn’t say half-a**ed but that’s what I really meant 😀 ).
    There is a very good chance I will be able to get it done before Christmas, and if that is the case, and it’s okay with Ana, I will post a link to the song in a comment at some time, it does make the song better when there’s music 😛 .

    So please, don’t be sad unless you want to, let’s celebrate those we lost in whatever way makes us feel most comfortable. My Mom and Dad would be the first two people to fly down with their Angel Wings and lovingly smack me in the head if I made this all a grief-fest. Laughter and a feeling of comfort and joy were their best attributes, in their honor, I hope you will all feel free to take this time to remember the love and the good memories.

    You have all made my grieving process so much less painful than it could be just by being here. I consider each and every one of you my Family and the last thing I want to do is make my Family sad ❤ and please know, I love you all ❤

    Like

    • Irishey says:

      My fondest Christmas memories are from my childhood: church services and specials; family gatherings; baking cookies; decorating the tree and house; making gifts or shopping for that perfect surprise gift; listening to someone read all my favorite Christmas stories; watching Christmas specials on TV; the aroma of candles, evergreen boughs and homemade candies; the sound of Christmas bells, hymns and other music; sneaking out of bed to be all alone to watch the lights twinkle on the Christmas tree; being driven around the town to see the lights and decorations on houses, stores and street poles; building snowmen and watching it snow snow snow!

      There are so many other things I loved and still love about Christmas. The more I listed here, the more things I thought of. This is enough for now. 🙂

      Like

      • JoanneBest says:

        Irishy, I just saw this now after commenting below. all I’ll say now is did we live the same life? 😀
        Every memory you described I lived too, every single one! And you know what? The memories you’ve stirred up, knowing we share so much, well these memories brought on by you have done more to heal me than any of that “yucky” stuff you referred to below, so no on the selfish, and yes on the power of love and healing, any way it works, as long as it works, any sweetheart, you made it work ❤

        Like

      • JoanneBest says:

        Hee! My felines would join in and then William the Siamese would knock me over and start singing lead, he doesn’t need a microphone, he’s very loud 😀

        And thank you for thanking me, lol, isn’t this the best place in the world?
        Hugs to you from me fellow feline lover 😉

        Like

  4. SH says:

    Such a lovely post, Joanne. Your Christmas memories are beautiful and I can feel your joy as you remember through your words. I am sorry for your loss and I hope your memories help you find peace. Great song! Hugs!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • JoanneBest says:

      Thank you SH, I’m happy you could feel the joy in my memories, as time goes by I’m learning a lot about grief and the different stages, and I’ve realized wallowing will change nothing so I am choosing to remember the good times, for there were so many of them! And I think to myself, when I’m gone, I don’t want anyone to feel pain when they think of me, so I’m making an effort to think of the good times, and even though my Dad just passed in September, I’m somehow able to deal with it better than when it was my Mom. Perhaps because my Mom’s death came out of nowhere without warning, and my Dad and I had spent a lot of time together once she was gone talking about death. He missed her so much and he told me he was tired and wanted to be with her. He was 89 and he told me he lived a good life without regret and was looking forward to being with her again. He called me the night before I found him on the floor and told me how much he loved me and I was somewhat prepared for him to go. It’s what he wanted.
      So I shall live on with my heart full of loving memories and be grateful for the time we had together, ❤ Hugs back!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loralynne Summers says:

    What a lovely song! I hope that in time, as you’re not stressing about making your dad enjoy the season, it will once again be joyous and magical for you.

    Growing up, my mother’s family (she had 5 sisters) would all come together on a Saturday or Sunday, usually the week before Christmas. All the cousins (there were tons of us!) would play together. The parents would cook and drink, and someone would dress up as Santa, and hand out gifts to the kids (brought by the parents) and there’d be a grab bag for the adults. As time has passed and the families have grown and moved apart, and some have passed (both young and old, some naturally and some at their own hands), we haven’t gathered in a few years. I miss the craziness of a dozen adults and even more children ran amok both inside and out. For many of us, it was the only time we’d see each other all year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • JoanneBest says:

      Oh Loralynne,I love your memories and they sound so similar to some of mine ❤
      It was the same with us, being the only time we all saw each other at the same time. My Mom had 4 sisters and 2 brothers and almost all of them had children so it was a full house, and yes, the craziness was the best part! Until I was around 5 years old I was the only girl cousin amidst at least 14 boy cousins so it was either tomboy time or reading time, lol, amidst all the chaos I always managed to find a corner and read a book, I started reading at a really early age and found my young self reading adult novels long before I should have been lol
      But it was a good habit to get into! 😀
      Christmas of course will never be the same, but the memories will last forever and we can build new memories, new traditions while still remembering the past ❤

      Like

  6. Lynn says:

    Aw, Joanne, honey, I’m so sorry for your loss and glad we are helping you cope ❤️
    I’m lucky my parents are both still around although I won’t see them at Christmas as they prefer the sun of Spain to the cold, dreariness of England for the holiday season. I still miss my beloved Grandmother though and her silly Christmas jumpers (sweaters).
    My current grief this season is for suffering of loved ones that I can do very little to help 😢
    Anyway my best present as a kid was a little blue peddle-powered, racing car. My brother and I got one each and we had such fun. I most most upset when I grew too big to fit in it.
    My best Christmas as an adult was the year my teen was born on Christmas Day, although we didn’t actually get to celebrate Christmas at all that year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Aw thank you so much Lynn ❤ it's true that you have helped me so much during all this turmoil that's going on, I don't even think I can express properly the gratitude I feel for all the times you've made me smile, laugh, and just plain get through the day.
      I'm sorry your Parents won't be there with you for Christmas but I'm really happy they are both still with you. While I can understand from their point of view wanting to be in the sun, I'm a closet Anglophile and I've always dreamed of living in England. In fact there was a time years ago when I wouldn't read a book unless it took place in England 😀
      It's been a lifelong dream of mine to one day get myself to England. I almost made it back in 1977 but when my boyfriend at the time (he passed away in 1990 from drugs and drinking) couldn't get the time off from work I allowed myself to be talked out of going without him. I was just a kid back then and too young and dumb to stand up to him unfortunately, but I'll never give up that dream 🙂
      Your peddle-powered racing car sounds awesome! The closest I've come would be my bicycle which I would ride every day with my little AM radio blasting away in my little white basket as I'd ride through the newly built development up the street full of hilly roads, all smooth and newly paved (then it got ruined when John Bon Jovi moved in lol, he was always a snotty snobby rich kid lol).
      I too miss my Nana as we called her, she always without fail wore her own sweaters/jumpers and I always remember she had tissues up her sleeves lol She was a wonderful Irish woman who could turn you to stone with a look if she wanted, but she was full of love and especially loved me as her first granddaughter ❤ My Grandpa died when I was 8 years old, he was a train conductor after years of working in the coal mines and there was a head on collision, he was never the same after that.
      I feel you with the suffering of others who refuse to be helped, we've got my other sister-in-law crashing on our couch since last Friday when her husband served her with divorce papers and a restraining order but she refuses to face reality. Our house is small and while I try to be giving, this is a hard one. But enough about my stuff, look at you with a Christmas baby!!!
      My brother's wife was born on Christmas Day and they decided to celebrate half birthdays so every June 25th they'd have a birthday party for her so she didn't get lost in the Holiday shuffle 😀
      Hugs and Love sweetheart <3, and thank you for so much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AM says:

    It’s been over 14 years since Mom died, and I still miss her. Holidays when I was a child were hard, but as an adult, we made good memories with Mom. Because of her disability and my father’s issues, after they divorced, she didn’t have much money. So she used to make gifts for us. She was a quilter and also did embroidery art of her own design. But my favorite gift wasn’t something she sewed. One year, she made each of my siblings and me a jar full of “hugs.” These were slips of paper, tied with ribbons so they looked like tiny scrolls. On each paper, she wrote something she loved about us. Then she filled our jars with them and decorated the jars. I still have it.

    Joanne, thank you for writing this beautiful post. I feel the grief over loved ones most acutely this time of year, but now I’m ready to think about some of the better memories and share them with my own kids.

    Liked by 3 people

    • JoanneBest says:

      Dearest AM, I’m learning there is no time limit on grief, especially when it comes to a Mother and Daughter (if they get along, I understand everyone isn’t as lucky as you and I were to be able to share that bond).
      We weren’t wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, Mom stayed home to raise us until we were all old enough to go to school so Dad worked a full time job and a part time job so they were able to send us to Catholic School. My Mom was able to stretch the food budget to feed the 5 of us and while we did have piles of presents under the tree, they were far from expensive and it didn’t matter to us, we were grateful for every little thing we got.
      As we got older Mom started making all our Christmas decorations and she also was a quilter and not only made us blankets and scarves and hats, but she also sewed most of my clothes when we were kids. Pants, dresses, tops, even bathing suits were made by her. Since we wore uniforms to school, we each had 2 pair of shoes, one pair for school and one pair for play, and hand-me-downs made up a lot of my childhood wardrobe.
      I absolutely adore your jar full of “hugs”! What a wonderful idea! I’ve been trying to convince my husband and sister-in-law (we 3 live together due to financial reasons) that the best Christmas present to me would be something we made for each other, but I still haven’t been able to convince them. Yet 😀
      It’s so much more meaningful to me when someone takes the time and effort to make something from the heart, I’d rather have something homemade than all the jewels in the world. I always bought gifts for my Mom but also always included something either handmade or a hand written “gift certificate” for time spent together, just the two of us. Those were always the best gifts in my eyes, and luckily she felt the same.
      I’m so happy for you that you feel ready to move on with your children and make new memories. I was never fortunate enough to have children, and the older I get, the more I regret it, but it wasn’t in my cards to be able to carry a baby to term and unfortunately had several miscarriages… wow, this is the first time I ever told anyone this, leave it to me to do it on a public forum lol . I’m not laughing at the tragedy, but at the fact that I somehow chose this moment to say it out-loud. Further proof of the comfort level I feel here at Ana’s Place… I never even told anyone in my family!
      You’ve had a lot to carry, I hope you have the best Christmas ever this year, and I hope your children know how lucky they are to have you ❤

      Like

  8. awesomesub says:

    Hi Joanne, hugs for you. This is such a many-faceted post, and I do get you so well about it, because when I thought about this season memories of all those who left too early were back. Oh my, what I want to say is that there is this mix of feeling the loss, grief, crying, but also having the memories that show us so many good moments. In some moments this means smiling and crying at the same time, doesn’t it? However, maybe you do feel your parents’ warmth around Christmas, and maybe the smell of some spice, some meal, or one of their favourite Christmas songs brings them back to you. The good memories will be there. I am glad that you have that, and I’d say you should hug one you love, every time you feel too much grief … and every time you feel like hugging, of course (couldn’t resist, sorry, and hugs). 🙂
    I love the song, for me it says the loss will be felt for long years, but you’ll also feel the love and the good times you had together. This is something that creates hope and a smile in me, which feels so good now.

    hugs ❤

    Nina

    Like

    • JoanneBest says:

      Oh Nina my sweetest Angel! I always feel like hugging you 😀 I’m a hugger and always have been as far back as I can remember. We had a rule growing up that I never forgot, every time we left the house, came back into the house, and before we went to sleep we always hugged and kissed Mom and Dad hello/goodbye/goodnight right up until they left this mortal coil. Even to this day, now that we’ve all reconciled, my two brothers and I still do the same. We also said “I love you” to each other all the time, even as we ended our phone calls and that tradition also continues with my brothers and I.
      I have to admit I forced this tradition onto my husband’s family, who were never huggers before I came into their lives, and now they all do the same 🙂
      It’s amazing the power a hug can bring, the comfort of a hug, even when I hug the cats and dogs, is so strong. We’ve even taught one of our dogs to hug us back! All we say is “Jasper, give me a hug” and he does, using both of his front paws/arms lol
      I’m feeling much more at peace since I wrote this post, for that I thank Ana, I’m trying to concentrate on the good memories and there are so very many.

      I’m so happy you like the song, and I can’t wait to record it so you can hear it. Our piano player hasn’t been available so that’s been the holdup, we tried to do it with just an acoustic guitar but it didn’t do the song the justice it deserves. You know me, I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful songs I ever wrote, I started writing it a few years ago and put aside, but after my Mom died I finished it.
      Any time I can do anything that makes you smile and gives you hope, well there’s no better feeling in the world than that ❤
      Hugs to you and your mini-cooper(s), you my dear, are a gift to the world and you have a very lucky husband ❤
      Love and hugs,
      Joanne xox

      Liked by 1 person

      • awesomesub says:

        Hugs rule! 😀 Thank you, Joanne, and hugs back. 🙂 I love hugs, and we hug a lot here too. This creates so much wonderful warmth, so I am glad you have taught your husband’s family too. Of course they love it now! 😀
        I can’t wait to hear the song, and actually I like the idea that you finished it after your Mom passed away, because the song is like a connection between her and you then, isn’t it? Thank you for the hugs and I’ll hug all Coopers around, the big one and the mini one(s). 🙂

        hugs ❤

        Nina

        Liked by 1 person

        • JoanneBest says:

          It may be two days late, but it’s never too late for another hug 😀
          So I’m sending you a bundle of hugs right now ❤
          I never thought of it that way, about the song being finished after my Mom passed, thank you for pointing that out, it somehow makes the song feel even more special ❤ I wish we could play it at the Christmas benefit we're playing, but again, the keyboard player isn't available so we'll be doing our rock rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear" https://www.reverbnation.com/bullettrainnj/song/2381711-do-you-hear-what-i-hear
          I hope the link works here and I should probably save it for Holiday Music day but I'll post it again, actually I probably wouldn't have posted it now but I just sent the link to someone so all I had to do was hit "paste" 😛

          Make sure you share all those hugs with the all the Coopers, mini or not, but shhhh, I threw in extra hugs for you alone ❤

          Like

  9. Sassytwatter says:

    Joanne such a beiatiful moving post sorry for the loss of your father so recently. Your memories you shared of Christmas growing up were beautiful. I could just picture you skating in your new skates. Loved hearing about your family traditions. I understand celebrating with out your mom will never be the same but cherish your memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Thank you so much Sassy, to this day I can still feel the ice beneath my feet and that feeling of nearly flying when I was skating. It was like magic! One time I was skating and it was colder than cold, so cold that my laces froze and I had to walk/skate home lol, the streets were paved and there was crunchy piles of ice on the street. By the time I made it home, my ankles all wobbly from the uneven chunks of ice and tears streaming down my face from the whipping wind and pain I had to clomp down the stairs to the basement so my Mom could finagle the skates off my feet. Looking back, I realize now she was doing her best to hold back her laughter as she wiped my tears away and threw some extra marshmallows into my fresh cup of hot chocolate. 😀
      And you’re right, celebrating without Mom will never be the same, but I’m learning to smile more and truthfully, talking about all these memories we all have is lifting my heart, and somehow healing me and I only just realized it now as I’m writing these words… thank you so much for that Sassy ❤

      PS: sorry I was gone for awhile, because of course I was without internet for awhile as hubby was outside putting up Christmas lights and inadvertently jiggled the cable wire 😀 Of all days!

      Like

  10. Laura says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. The holidays always seem to make the hurt we feel over the loss of a loved one even worse than usual. Reading your post of Christmas’ past made me remember all the joy my family had when we were little. Coming together with everyone for these 25 days has made me smile more then I have since the year started. So thanks for writing this and thanks to everyone who participates and extends their love during this time.

    BTW – The TARDIS mention: you can’t possibly know how stoked I was that there was another Whovian amongst us. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Thank you Laura, I’m right there with you on these 25 days making me smile more than the whole year put together. It’s magical here ❤
      This is Family, right here, so I add my Thank You to everyone here, and most of all to Ana who makes this all possible and spreads the love making the world a better place for us here ❤

      Oh! Thank you fellow Whovian! I am equally as stoked to know I'm not the only Companion- oh wait, that's just in my dreams, 😛 but it's great to meet a fellow Whovian hidden amongst us! So funny that right before I got back online my niece sent me a text to tell me that store Hot Topics just got in a bunch of Doctor Who stuff, she's the only person I know who watches The Doctor, how awesome to meet some one else ❤ (Love 12 but 10 and 11 are my faves, mostly 11 because that's when I first started watching it religiously lol)

      Like

  11. Joelle Casteel says:

    Aw, that was a beautiful song, Joanne. And the memories. And the song. I started welling up the second I started reading it. Normally, even though I hate my mother, I would already have “Merry Snoopy Christmas” playing, but I can’t face it. Instead, it’s “It’s a Pony Kind of Christmas”- with the My Little Ponies. Somehow, it feels crueler to have lost both my parents in one moment to estrangement; I’ve known I was never what they wanted, but then to have my child not be the grandchild they wanted? And I just realized this evening that when the people I babysit for paid me ahead to help with the holidays and in a bipolar mania, I spent it all having fun with my daughter (who’s still reeling in her own way for being the “cause” of the estrangement), I’m feeling stupid and bipolar; now I get to explain this to my dominant, that there’s no more babysitting money coming until 12/18. Yeah, I’m not ready for that, after the “fun” of buying holiday presents- we’re all atheists, so I decided to do it this paycheck, having forgotten my paycheck situation. I feel like I’m failing at making new memories/traditions now. I guess I should feel happy that my daughter wanted to wait until tomorrow to open presents so both my dominant and I can be here to watch; I’m working on my first rum-and-cola now; I’m not sure I have the strength to push off from Hollywood Undead to even listen to “It’s a Pony Kind of Christmas.”

    I wish things were going better for your family. Big hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Aww Joelle, so many hugs from me to you! So much I want to say that could best be described by the longest hardest hug ever (( ❤ Joelle ❤ ))
      First of all, I'm almost glad I didn't have the music recorded yet because it's a heart-tugger, and I'm the last person to ever say anything good about anything I write/do/sing/whatever, but the music is enough to bring tears even without the words. Earlier I read my words aloud to someone and even though I read them a million times, for some reason my voice quivered and tears spilled, as if I was reading someone else's words, but somehow it was therapeutic.

      Now to the important things; you are loved. No matter where that love comes from, be it blood or chosen family, you are loved by so many people I'm sure you don't even realize how many people love you. It's gut-wrenching, the thought of family behaving like that. I like to think that there is some good in everyone but that's not reality, just a wish. I can't even imagine the pain you feel and I wish I could take it away but that's not reality either. And I don't want to cast judgment on anyone's family and I try to put myself in other people's shoes and try to understand some people are damaged for reasons, but in your case, there is no reason in the world that makes it right for you to have to deal with this bullshit (sorry Ana, sometimes cursewords are the only way to keep me from wanting to throttle some people I don't even know).
      Whatever makes your family act this way is not your fault, not your daughter's fault, it is their own fault, and they should be ashamed of themselves. I'm sorry to say that Joelle but this is unacceptable behavior. The only thing I can compare it to in my own life is my once favorite aunt telling my brother she'd dance a jig if she wasn't wearing a cast when he told her our Dad died, then her husband added that he was glad my Father was dead. I know it's nowhere near the same but my point is that blood is supposed to support blood always, all ways, and if that's not possible, as hard as it is, we have no choice but to choose our family, the ones who love us, warts and all. Of course it's devastating to have to go through this, but we all deserve to be loved, and you dear Joelle, are loved. I'm happy you have a daughter to be proud of who loves you so you can break the cycle and start new traditions, and I'm even happier you have a Dominant to take care of you the way you deserve.
      I pray you are okay with the bipolar, I know it well, just please always remember you are loved and you have a support system right here ❤
      All the love and hugs,
      Joanne xox

      Like

      • Joelle Casteel says:

        aww 🙂 Thanks, Joanne. Well I admit, this was another day when if it wasn’t for thoughts of “perfect attendance” I might not have managed the Advent Calendar- “perfect __”s from school were one of those things that got me some time with my mother being slightly less unhappy with me.

        With family, I don’t get why sometimes we can’t just remember the adage “If you have don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” As I put it talking to a friend today, my father failed at adulting. He could have chosen to put the phone day and wait to continue the texting conversation when he didn’t feel like saying something that was going to make his granddaughter never want to speak to him again; instead he told her that “She [my mother] doesn’t need this stress.” This stress being the disclosure that my daughter is transgender.

        But you know, my dominant has been helping me for years to put in healthy boundaries with my parents- they’ve never really been there- so after I disclosed to Him, He was in total support of cutting ties with my parents.

        I bought the “Nightmare Before Christmas” pen that I’m sure my daughter will love and a bunch of other stuff. Hoping we do gifts tomorrow; she wanted to wait until I could be home too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • JoanneBest says:

          Sorry it took me two days to get back here, but it gladdens my heart that you have a strong Dominant to support you through all this. And I think it’s good to talk about it too, instead of keeping it all bottled up inside and torturing yourself, because if you’re anything like me, and I have a feeling you are 🙂 you carry burdens alone. Because I love Ana I’ll just say F that S and I’m sure you know what I mean 😀

          I’m embarrassed to say I began writing this comment a little after 5:30 pm and it’s now after 9:30 pm due to eleventy thousand chores appearing out of nowhere as they do 😛
          Now that the toothpicks that have been keeping my eyelids open have begun to splinter so in order to save my eyeballs, I’m afraid I better get some much overdue sleep and come back tomorrow. Ana sure knew what she was doing when she gave us 25 days 😛
          hugs and ❤ for now dearest Joelle ❤ and sweet dreams for everyone under your roof xox

          Like

  12. Irishey says:

    I wish there was an ESP link here in the comment box, so I could send the essence of my thoughts and feelings, and the warmth of hugs. My words are failing me. I can be such a geek about emotions and the things that evoke them.

    I wrote a bunch of words earlier throughout the day, but they don’t say what I want them to say. I blocked and cut them, just in case I wanted to paste that rambling mess back here. Then, just now, I read through all the comments thus far…

    {{{Hugs}}} to everybody. I want to comment to everybody, but I simply can’t corral my many more swirling thoughts. I think I will just paste back what I cut, and leave it, mostly, at that.

    —–

    Hi again, Joanne. I wasn’t able to post much at last year’s Ana’s Advent Calendar, but I remember you and all our collective silliness, sadness, sharing and shenanigans from the previous year, and of course, I remember your story about your mother. I am so sorry you lost your father not long ago. I am happy for you that you have found Ana’s event to be a balm for your soul, and a place to share memories and find happiness! Hugs to you! Oh! Love the lyrics to your song!! I was hearing a melody as I was reading it. Can’t wait to hear you sing it to music.

    I don’t really want to share my mehs, grief, despondency, anger, frustration, sadness or blues. They wear me out, emotionally, and that has become…I don’t know – boring(?) to me because some of the general feelings and physical symptoms from these things are omnipresent. Meh. Today, and most of the time, for me, this stuff seems a little overwhelming or depressing to dwell on as a writing project – or to share. Gives me that heavy, sluggish feeling, ya know?

    I will say this. The good thing is memories and emotions do, occasionally, sneak out of their boxes in full-press mode to smack me in the head and heart. No warning! Little buggers. I cry or gnash my teeth, then shoo them back where they belong. That leaves me with the tingling general after-effects described above. Oh, wait, no – those don’t that cause that! 😉 They cause the general humming malaise that constantly fritters around in my subconscious. Nasty, vicious circle.

    So, I am not going to do this part of the assignment and write about icky, bluesy events! 😉 As we progress through the month, I might mention this or that heart-zinger, but mainly I just want to be here to support everyone else.

    My memories and issues surface as I read others’ struggles. Somehow, the compassion I feel for others seems to soothe some of my own heart stuff. Perhaps, it is that feeling of: WE ARE NOT ALONE, or IT COULD BE WORSE, or maybe even the thought that I’ve experienced the very same thing, or something indeed much worse.

    Others’ stories often ignite thoughts of specific things I could share to help someone deal with their struggle. I also find ideas pop into my head to help myself. Cool, huh?

    However, I suppose this means I am being selfish for not sharing the yucky stuff that could help someone else. Sigh. However, your followup comment to your post is my focus because, despite loss and grief and all the rest, I still believe/know I am very, very fortunate and blessed to have had all the many good parts of my life. I know I have learned from my mistakes and adversity. I may be weakened by much of it, but my inner strength has to be rebuilding under all of that. Right?

    Right. 🙂

    I continue to hope and believe I will find ways of dealing with the emotional and physical fallout from the worst of it. I simply need to collect, repair and reassemble all the broken, shattered, bent and twisted pieces of my inner tough girl, kind girl, strong girl, audacious girl, and all the other super girls, then put them back into balance as a healthier whole me again. No sweat. 😉

    What I’ve written sounds too dramatic – it definitely was not meant to be – and I should edit it, but I’ve been randomly adding thoughts since this morning, and have too other many things to do today. Hopefully, I can make some time later to visit everybody else’s comments. For now, I better get back to hopping. 😉

    Hugs to you all!

    Like

    • JoanneBest says:

      Dearest Irishy, is that a cat hair in my eye causing the wetness to drip down my face? You’re a tough act to follow my dear 😀 The things you wrote, I can’t even come close to doing justice to what you deserve to hear in return. I want to write an entire book in response to your words and it still wouldn’t match, I guess I can only toss your words back to you and go with the ESP idea, because you are me and I am you and heck, we all are each other. We don’t realize what we say off the cuff can sometimes be a lifeline to someone, and you are wrong about one thing, you are in no way selfish! Look at what you said! Do you know how much you touched my heart? I know I’m not the only one who feels the same here, and I have to add that every single person here has touched my heart not only today, but all the time.
      We are so Blessed that Ana in a way forces us to stop and think and share and love and breathe, because I fear so many of us wouldn’t allow ourselves to take the time to come together and love, laugh, cry, and heal.
      Love and hugs to you sweet Irishy, coming from a long line of redheads with the middle name Bridget, and last names like Carey and McNulty, you make my Irish roots smile hard ❤

      Like

      • Irishey says:

        Well, lassie, there might be Mc-something or two in me lines that lent their stray strands of auburn and copper, or the wisps of black, mixed in with my English chestnut and mousey browns, German honey blondes, and Native American and Romani walnuts. Nowadays, most of my multi-hued locks are faded grey or white as the driven snow.

        My Mc’s are Scots-Irish from way back, and every bit as dilute as the rest of my origins. I claim them all as my ancestral heritage, as does every other self-respecting “American Stew” made in our wonderful melting pot. I am a muttley mix who calls herself a generations deep, dirt native, true red, white and blue American…with a tetch o’ blarney! 😉

        Enough deflecting myself from the heart of your reply…

        Thank you for your kind, inspirational words. I do agree that all of us here are quite similar in so many ways, though the paths we took and the bumps we tripped over to get here are very different. Many of us share very similar backgrounds and childhood experiences.

        I’ll digress to note those of us who grew up in the 50’s, 60’s and/or 70’s experienced a golden age, especially to be a child. Some of us had the best of that time and that world. Most of these kids grew up to realize the rest of the world did not have a life remotely as good as their worst day. Some felt overwhelming guilt as they matured.

        Others were neglected and abused through what should have been an incomparable life never seen, nor even possible, before or since those decades in this world. Some survived it because they saw that wasn’t good or right, and found hope and strength in knowing their could escape that into their adult futures. Others…well, the various permanent damage simply breaks one’s heart.

        Then there are those of us who had *both* the good and the bad, or the best and the worst. We got mixed up about some things because the emotions didn’t always surface with the event. We learned not to trust the moment in caution/fear of the next moment, and the constant hope was a timid little thing or a wildly optimistic sprite. We still struggle at times to uncluster the mess in order to reconcile ourselves, because those emotions are sneaky little brats.

        Still with me?! 😉 I started this late yesterday evening, had early call to chauffeur kids, did some leftover dishes I had soaking overnight, spruced up the kitchen a little, and am trying to finish this, this morning.

        I wanted to touch on much of what you replied to me, but…yeah…not up to writing a book this morning. All I will add is I wish I had lived anywhere near a safely frozen body of water or ice skating rink, or in a town with lots of kids to sled with. I always wanted to do those things. Never learned to skate. Rarely got to go sledding. Pout. 😉

        Off to check on Saturday’s post to see what magic our Elfin Ana has next up her sleeve for us!

        Like

        • JoanneBest says:

          And look at me, too many days to count late [she said with an extra heap of Irish Catholic Middle Child Guilt 😉 ]
          Once again I find myself in the position of not enough time and too many good intentions (while trying to keep an insistent Siamese kitty just past a year old that no he can not eat my hair tie and no it is not on my desk thank you very much for knocking every single thing off and you’re standing dangerously close to my mini wooden spoons young William!)

          Everything you said deserves, what they deserve, my full attention!
          To be so Blessed to have grown up in those days, innocent and unafraid walking barefoot through the neighborhood at 3am after sneaking out of your home made tent (Tip wooden picnic table on it’s side, drape blankets into a triangular shape using bricks made at the brick factory in town to hold them in place, sleeping bags on the ground and there ya go! Backyard camping!) , back to the sneaking out and walking fearlessly, safe…. playing outside all day with our imaginations instead of expensive electronic toys, eating what was put on our plates and being grateful for it,, walking everywhere and wandering in the woods and clay pits for hours just being kids… I miss those days and find it difficult to reconcile the jump from then to now, the speed ridiculously fast due to electronics I guess, but there’s that song, “Video Killed The Radio Star” and I feel like electronics is stealing their childhood, I’m so happy for the advancements or I wouldn’t be talking to all of you, from everywhere, but I feel sad that my 15 month old niece will never know what it’s like to have to be home soon as the streetlights came on, or skate alone on one of the many ponds in the woods without worry of stranger-danger…. it breaks my heart…. and I want to say so much more and there are still conversations/comments I want to have/start/finish but then that outside world comes crashing in and next thing you know, you still have laundry to finish folding and it’s nearly sleepy time else my fibro will rear it’s ugly head, it’s been trying but I’ve been keeping it at bay, hence my coming back every day to make sure I didn’t leave a comment unanswered… I said it before but yay for 25 days, and boo for unappreciative uninvited ungrateful unexpected houseguests from hell who has finally left leaving me with a week to catch up on, and one less week for Christmas prep 😦

          So dearest Irishey, I will continue this conversation because I’m enjoying it too much to stop 😀 and also, your words, awesomeness ❤

          Once again my eyes begin to close as I type and I must obey the Master which sounds way better than it is 😉 , the one I mean is the one who controls my life, Fibromyalgia.
          But I'm not done with you yet Missy [said in best Irish great-great grandmother's voice] and I see a comment by Ana (singsong voice!) and do you know how torturous it is to not let myself read it till tomorrow when I can answer it? I am a glutton for punishment. Wait. I should rephrase that. Nah, maybe I shouldn't 😉 lol

          See? Ana Land is Magical ❤
          As Fagan and his boys sang, cheerio but be back soon, I'll be back soon… {curtsey}

          Like

    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I’m sorry I’m not replying to everyone. I don’t mean to leave anyone out. 😦 But Joanne is doing a fabulous job replying, anyway.

      Just wanted to say that sometimes it helps to talk about it. Other times it doesn’t. Only you know which is which.

      We see a lot of strong people on the outside. Smiling and being brave. Sometimes we can feel inadequate, like everyone else has it together and we don’t. It’s good to stop and give ourselves credit for what we have done…and if we know what we need to do to keep ourselves on an even keel, why not?

      Share if you want to share. Support others if you want to share. Get silly if you want to get silly. There’s no wrong way to be here, as long as you are here.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Irishey says:

        You are not required to reply, nor should you feel guilty if you don’t. You put forth all this effort to host us throughout the month. You can sit back now and enjoy the party, and chime in only whenever you feel like it – if you can get a word in edgewise amongst all us chatterboxes! 😉

        We know you’re here, baking cyber cookies and looking over us, making sure we have fun without becoming so rowdy we break the china. Some might even be intimidated or thrilled by the threat of your wooden spoon – not me, of course!

        We love you, Ana. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. kaisquared4 says:

    My Dad has been gone now for over 10 years, but I really miss him at Christmas. He worked up to 5 jobs at a time when I was younger to support our family, so we rarely saw him during the week except at breakfast, if we were up early. At Christmas, we had him to play with for the whole day, and we took advantage of it, even if he always beat us at Monopoly. He would let us watch TV with him when Mannix came on, and it was a standing joke that he could never recognize that he had seen a rerun before. I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my Mom and the rest of our extended family this year, but I will miss his joyous singing of Christmas carols, in the worst monotone I have ever heard.

    I loved the coloring pages for Taliaschild, and look forward to some starring Mrs. Claus, Ana the Elf, and some lovely spoons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Kaisquared, I’m sorry for the loss of your Dad, by your description of him, he sounds wonderful and so very lovable, I mean come on, Mannix? Awesome! 😀 I can hear the theme song and picture my own Dad sitting there watching it ❤
      Getting to have him for the whole day on Christmas Day must have been glorious! As I'm learning, the memories we hold dearest are meant to be shared, meant to be relived over and over, and while we treasure them we can sometimes find they help us to heal, and one day we realize we can tell these stories with a smile on our face and full heart.

      Oh yes, the coloring pages! I just added coloring books to my Christmas list and shhh, don't tell anyone, but I heard I'm going to get them 😀
      And I fear I just earned myself a talking to from Mrs Claus, this time, there may even be spoons! (if I'm lucky heehee 😉 )

      Like

  14. renee200 says:

    Joanne sweetie, I’m so sorry for your losses. The holidays are always a time to remember those who are not here. It is a time to bring out those memories that we store in our hearts. A time to share those pieces of our loved ones that influenced and made us who we are as a person. It is obvious from knowing you that both of your parents have loved, taught and touched you in beautiful ways. For you have grown into a beautiful and loving person who brings joy into the lives of others. Know that they are watching over you with pride and love for you are a special person. Thank you for sharing your lovely song and keep the music alive in your heart. Blessings. R

    Like

    • JoanneBest says:

      Oh Renee! When I just read your words, as my eyes welled, I promise I felt my Mom in my heart, as if she was saying “listen to Renee Joanne, it’s about time you believed in yourself”.
      And how can I smile and cry at the same time?

      Thank you is all I can manage right now, it’s hard for me to understand that maybe I am worthy after all, you have touched my heart deeply. ❤

      I look forward to sharing the song with the music, as hard as it is to say it out loud, I've written and recorded at least 5 cd's worth of music and this song is possibly my favorite. I've heard rumblings of a Holiday Music Day here and I'm hoping to share something already recorded, we recorded a version of "Do You Hear What I Hear" so if it's okay I'll post it then.

      And Renee? Thank you. ❤
      Love and Hugs, J xox

      Like

  15. pieclown says:

    Thank you Joanne for sharing. I too agree that we need a TARDIS. I will get my 10 foot scarf and sonic screwdriver. I decided to read your passage while eating Christmas cookies. I have shared in the past about Christmas and my mom’s passing. This year, I lost my cat. True this is not the same as a human family member. But this cat was my last true connection with my mom. She called me from her work one day and said come get our cat. He was named T, that could stand for Mr T., Tabby or Trouble. T had the run of the house inside and out. And anyone that came to visit, soon found T on their lap. Well I hope you are surviving this Blue Christmas. I have found Ana’s advent calender a good balance of tears of sorrow, tears of laughter and tears of wooden spoons.

    pie pie 4 now

    Liked by 1 person

  16. catrouble says:

    Sitting here with tears running down my face…I’m sorry you’re having such a rough Christmas Joanne. I wish I was closer so I could give you a big hug. Shame on your mother’s family…no matter what their differences with your dad, he was still your dad and they should reach out for your sake! I am very happy for you and your brother’s sake that he reconciled with your dad prior to his passing. Haven’t been able to read the rest of the comments…gotta quit crying here. Sending lots of positive energy your way.

    Hugs and blessings…Cat

    Liked by 1 person

  17. minellesbreath says:

    Hi Joanne, first of all I share the nostalgic feelings in your holiday memories. They seem very familiar. I have so many cherished Christmases myself. I haven’t come to any certainties in how my Holiday will be this year. I lost my mom in May, we still have my dad with us. Sometimes I just cry about this year of many firsts without mom–and then I want to cherish every minute of the present with my family.
    This was a lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Irishey says:

      Hugs, sweetie. Let those tears flow. Some will be sad, some bittersweet, but I think you and your family have so much of your mom in you that each of you will bring her right into Christmastime with you. There will be lots of big and little sharp pangs as you experience each day and those memories hit you. Just keep in mind what she wanted your holidays to be, and how she wanted you to be happy and have fun. Put on that smile for her, for each other, and for yourself. Every time the tears start to slip into your smile, let them out, then smile again through them when you remember what she would tell you if she saw you all weepy because of her.

      I know smiling is easier said than done. Moving through the grieving process through all these firsts without her will be tough. Maybe it also woud help to keep looking around you and being grateful for all you have that only was possible because of her – all your family members, your traditions, your many other whatevers. I know I am very thankful to your mom for giving me such a wonderful friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Thank you Minelle, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom, I’m happy to hear you have your Dad still with you, please hug him for me ❤
      It's really difficult getting through these days, I'm late commenting and I'm sorry for that, but I have to admit one thing, it's December 20th and the closer it gets, the harder it seems…. I'm trying to be happy, but I keep getting swamped with past memories playing through my mind without my permission. I'm looking forward to the day I can remember everything with a smile ❤
      Hugs and ❤ xox

      Liked by 1 person

  18. morgannawilliams says:

    Beautiful post and very well said. My parents have both been gone for almost twenty years but I still miss them. Your song expresses it well. I find when I’m at.my lowest and wish I could talk to them, if I’m quiet I can still hear their voices full of love and encouragement. Thanks for sharing you gave me a tear but also a smile. Huggs and heartfelt sympathy for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      Thank you Morganna, sorry for the tear but glad for the smile 🙂
      Sorry I’m late with the comment but I appreciate everything you said, and I’m taking the opportunity to add the last verse of the song, I just came up with it a few days ago while beginning to record I realized I needed another verse, so here it is:
      “The lights twinkle softly
      reflecting my tears
      I’ll always remember
      every day of the year
      you’re in my heart
      and it almost feels like Christmas”

      Thanks again ❤
      hugs and ❤ xox

      Like

  19. nerdgirl1115 says:

    My Dad and Uncle died 8 days apart about 6 years ago, both in March. The last Christmas spent with them was not the greatest. I spent Christmas Eve alone at the hospital trying to convince the nurses that he wasn’t ready to come home. He had suffered two strokes by that hospital visit. My Uncle was not doing well and had to go back to his group home early to be seen by his doctor, so we didn’t get as much time as usual with him. After they died, I wanted each holiday to go away. I hated them. Over the past 6 years I have begun to enjoy some of them a bit more, but I don’t think I will ever enjoy them like I used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoanneBest says:

      I’m so sorry Nerdgirl, it must have been horrid to go through so much loss so close together. Any and every loss is bad, but so close together, hugs ❤ thank you for sharing your story and thank you for commenting.
      Sorry it took me so long to get back here, seems the closer it gets to Christmas Day (it's 12/20 right now) the more difficult it seems.
      I'm afraid that I'll feel the same, I don't know how Christmas can ever be the same again we lose those who meant the most to us ❤

      Hugs and ❤ xox

      Liked by 1 person

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