The holidays are such a weird time for me.
On the one hand, I leave the way my family treated me, and ultimately abandoned me, behind me most of the time. When I think about considering more surgery for the stimulator or when I fell in the street and had no one to call, of course they come to mind; and the way they treated me comes tagging alone; but mostly they are not there.
My aloneness and lonliness is a part of my Thanksgiving and Christmas just as much as a Christmas tree, turkey and stuffing or presents are for most people.
My nephew, the one person brave enough to brave his family and get to know me, came to visit a few days ago, as he has for the last couple of years whenever he is in town. It is my one visitor, the person I can call family, My excitement and delight over the visit is palpable.
In church the ministers talk about family and the holiday. Last Sunday one talked about everyone having someone to be with. That is not me. Later I tell him that, but feel I am not heard. Honestly, there is nothing he can do about it anyway.
My friend who moved to NY suggests I go to the dinner they have at the church, provided by the food pantry. I am suspect but one year decide to go. It was as I worried, a group of people, each alone, many looking perplexed or depressed, even angry. I feel they are glad to have this meal and this place, but I know staying would only aggravate all of my feelings about the holiday.
I feel some, all(?), at the dinner may not have family. The people who are supposed to be mine live 15 and 35 minutes away but that is, in reality, a galaxy of distance.
They say the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. That is what it is, not only now but essentially always.
A memory comes to mind. I was at the dinner table. We had a family table but it did not work as they advertise.
I was maybe 8. I wanted one of them, some of them, to acknowledge I was there. To give presence to my invisibility.
"I bought some candy." I pipe up. "It's in penny candy jars in my room, just like in a candy store. Come to my room and buy some, just for a penny, okay? You can get some and visit me." I implore. My child's heart and soul thinks candy will work, like at a store. Or maybe more apt, a dog. Hold out a treat and they will come to you and be your friend.
They do not come. The canisters stay full. I do not eat the sweets, thinking Maybe today. Maybe today they will come and talk to me.
The house was built to reinforce the separation. My 2 sisters and brother had their rooms at one end. My parents and I were at the other. In between was a playroom, a dining room, a living room and a corridor. It was as though it was 2 separate homes.
We came together for dinner, for passover sedars and Thanksgiving, Christmas, and easter breakfasts and dinners. At one point my one sister took me to work with her: we were friends. The other sister and I double date and then, whoosh, it is gone, and I am persona non grata.
For a number of years I was invited to Thanksgiving at one sister's and Christmas at another but that was it. And then even that stopped. No rhyme, no reason.
I have a nephew. Family. More then many people have, even if only by one.
I have a roof over my head and and at least for the immediate present, funds to pay for it.
I can walk and talk, and see, and feel, and think. The last surgery I had there was a chance that would not be so. I am doubly grateful for a body that works.
I am always grateful and thankful for the Miracle. I can wash my face and go outside even with the wind, or cold, or breeze. It is consistently overwhelming. I do not want to think about when I could not do those things, what it felt like, but I do not have to remember the horror of that pain to know the wonder of being able to do them now.
I do have friends. I may almost never see them but I talk with them online or the phone, very often.
There is a lot to be thankful for: it is Thanksgiving.
It hurts. I cannot say it does not, to be alone for the holidays. But it is also a time for me to be very full of thanks. I work to hold onto that. I think for a good part of the time I am successful. And for that too I am thankful.