I’m not going to lie… ‘Christmas’ these last two years for me, has lost its sparkle…!
For many it has become this time of the year that creeps upon you, though you know it is coming. Like a smack in the face you realize you haven’t brought any presents until that awkward moment when someone hands you a gift in November and you have to do the dance of “I’m sorry I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping yet”. There are events that you are scheduled to attend at 12 noon, dinners at 6.00 pm and oh dear I’ve double booked… “Sure… I can sneak a cheeky champers in with you at 4.00 pm”!!!! You begin the rush around to buy presents, to begin crazy over-consuming ‘food planning’, decorate and decorate and did I mention decorate… remember there can never be enough decorations, hahahaha! You begin to spread the gift-giving love, to catch up with people who you haven’t seen nearly as much as you had wished all year. You consume buckets of Moét… if only it was on tap!!!!! The Christmas Cards would start flowing in. Remember the time when we use to be so good at Christmas Cards. Our shelves would be full of them; now the numbers have dwindled, we are all too BUSY!!! Busy Busy Busy! And amongst it all we have now lost the art of beautiful letter writing… me included. The TV use to have one Christmas movie after the other and it didn’t matter how many times an old Christmas classic came on you would sit through it and love it (don’t worry Home Alone is still a favourite!) and recite it and laugh at how much you actually really do love it. It makes me smile even now, in my sparkle-less state and all, haha! And the humming of Christmas songs, we know them all, we sing them all – don’t shake your head, I’ve seen you! Yes YOU!
AND then comes the ‘after Christmas coma’… food babies, clean up and retracting back into an antisocial hole until New Year’s! When the party begins again! Hahahahaha! This use to be me, the old me! But I loved every moment of it! I still do love it, but I have lost my beautiful Christmas spirit. My love of champagne (it’s still there but on hold) and FOMO is kicking in like an addict without his drugs!
Christmas has always been my MOST favourite time of the year! I love, love, love the socializing, the gifting, the search for the perfect presents, the look of happiness on the faces that received a secret gift from SANTA! I have never been one to expect anything in return, because even with all the above said, Christmas has always been romantic to me! I use to design a Christmas Newsletter and send it to all my friends about all the great adventures I had undertaken, share news that I hadn’t yet told them!!!! Christmas was MY thing…. until life took another massive turn in 2013.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t by any means turned into a big old Christmas Grinch. Quite the opposite; I am more aware than ever of what I want Christmas to mean to me! I think I now live in a time warp of denial and over expectation; that Christmas, my love of Christmas, will come back to me when I allow the feelings of love towards it back into my life, and when I come to truly accept some of my present realities.
No one can ever explain or tell you the emotional effects you will endure when you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. But one thing is for certain you begin looking at life in a whole new light and reflecting on the life you once had and the life you now seek. Much of Christmas and the things I did in the past involved a lot of money! And I am not going to deny I was on a good wicket! When I ceased working, that level of financial independence that I had prided myself on all my life had been taken away from me. Many of the Christmas events I organized were usually done in a work setting and the joy of Christmas was felt when you knew that children were beginning to start holidays and staff were ecstatic about their impending holidays. Christmas was the time of year when you could FINALLY spend with your families and friends in a state of happiness and recharge those much-needed batteries before the drone of life started all over again the following year.
Christmas has always been a time to reflect on the things that I had done that past year and to celebrate the joys and the wins! As much as the last two years have been absolutely harrowing on my family and I, strangely it has been amazing too! And that is what always brings me back to a happy place! But dealing with the multitude of emotions; seeing the good amongst the bad is actually a struggle. The times when I allow myself to be happy can sometimes be slammed with all the realities that sometimes that happiness is short-lived.
Strangely; when holidays that bear so much meaning roll in, the ‘real’ meaning begins to lose its significance and the start of the emotional battle commences! So here I share with you my Naked family, my very open “Yo-Yo” struggle with my ‘beloved Christmas’!
- There are the denials and the exhalation of making it to another Christmas! Defying the odds and being well enough to physically enjoy it and share the love with my family! This one is the best!
- There are the times spent in hospital wards, waiting the hours away and undergoing treatment with other cancer patients while all your friends are off celebrating Christmas parties and planning holidays away! And you are sharing this precious time with other beautiful souls of varying age groups, fighting their own battles, their own demons but always patiently submitting ourselves to the process of infused drug treatment; while knowing full well that treatment is what brings the possibilities of longer life and hope ever closer. This is my life; this is OUR life!
- There are the moments when you try to allow yourself to get lost in the moment. Where you try to switch off your brain and be fully present. The hardest of arts to master!
- There are the moments when you know that the holiday is about giving. But you are just taking each day as it comes and forget that it is Friday when indeed you thought it was Thursday! When you can see that material items are sometimes just material items; and real giving is about mindfulness, kindness and love.
- The feeling of pleasing others; it is like a back and forth battle in your mind and you realize that sometimes the best gift to yourself is actually putting yourself first and that ‘pleasing others’ is just an unnecessary pressure you place on yourself.
- That you want to do more to thank all the beautiful souls in your life for the moments that they held your hand through the year, that they called to say “hey”, that they knew the last thing you wanted to talk about was the C word or the M word for that matter, that they made you laugh, that they went out of their way to ensure that your veins weren’t rehearsing for a lead role of a ‘pin-cushion’ in the pantomime, that they brought positivity, love and real friendship with no strings attached into your life even if they were complete strangers and that they didn’t bring unnecessary complications into your life! That they made you feel like you, without the cancer over your head. The true angels that we should be celebrating!
- That you wish that you weren’t going through so many emotions. F-YOU emotions!
- That you just want to be carefree like a child and not think about the consequences, the outcomes or the reactions.
- That your attention span is limited and that you realize your mind runs a million miles an hour just thinking, thinking, thinking until you physically have to stop and put yourself in a meditative state and reset. I love meditation, my beautiful saviour!
- That you realize it is less than a week til Christmas and you still haven’t put the Christmas tree up – an act of defiance, but Christmas is coming whether you want to celebrate it or not!
Last year, I endured Christmas! I sat through excruciating pain and wrapped my arm in cling wrap to protect my clothing and make everyone around me have the Christmas that they deserved, as we experienced unseasonable heat and my radiated burns oozed as an aftermath from the intensive treatment I had just completed. This year, my arm is saying “hey lady, remember me?”, and has decided to swell up in sympathy of this time last year with a small case of lymphedema which I am presently working through.
But from today I am making a pact with myself. As much as I deny Christmas, it is coming and yes it might not be the Christmas of Hollywood dreams, or the Christmas’ of my past but it is the Christmas of my present! So next week I will endeavour to be true to myself and forget all the thoughts that weigh burden on my mind and really truly enjoy Christmas for all it’s magical sparkly ‘goodness-in-humanity’ glory! This is our first Christmas with our darling boy! It is our first Christmas as fiancés! It is our first Christmas with new babies! It is our first Christmas of HOPE!
When things are lost, they are screaming to be found, so my dear Spirit let’s begin the countdown because I WILL FIND YOU!
With love, light, season’s greetings and spirit hunting xx
Photo: Markus Spiske / www.temporausch.com