a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A little Christmas melancholy but a very Merry holiday to you

Saturday, December 23, 2023

A little Christmas melancholy but a very Merry holiday to you

T-shirt tales—Because every t-shirt tells a story, don't it.
And I have so very many of them. Shirts. And stories. ---- Tell me more. or Read all t-shirt tales

SUMMARY:  It is hard not to feel it. For me anyway. At this time anyway
Source: Discord chat with another writer Dec 22,2023

Somehow I seem to be more busy than before I retired, moved out of state, and left most of my family and friends behind. But I have finished my Christmas shopping since I really have only two family members, two dogs (Only one of them mine), and a couple of neighbors And friends to shop lightly for this year. Such a small number of gifts. So surely I can leave wrapping them until the last minute tomorrow.

As much of my life as I can remember – – and I'm retirement age, so that's...forever – – everyone in the family and their significant others (And often their parents and siblings) and their children and random friends and cousins from near and far and Dad's parents until they died (in the 1970s, but I can still recall how disquieting it felt the first Christmas that neither of them were there) gathered at my parents' house Christmas morning for an astonishing number of Christmas present openings. Even if each person received one gift, that was still a lot, but some of us--like my dad and me--enjoyed giving more than one gift to each person. Christmas at their place became legendary.

Then my dad died in 2015 and it impacted me like a crash and burn. We still all gathered that Christmas and still had a lot of gifts. But he had been the true driving force, And of course their house was good because it was huge because we all grew up in that house. The following year, mom's health declined rapidly and she died two days after Christmas, and we sold their house. We tried for a while, but it wasn't the same. I know they say that, to avoid this kind of sadness during the season, one should create new traditions. We didn't seem to be doing that. I didn't know what to try to create.

[Sidenote: That was a hard, hard year. Lost dad and mom, Tika and boost, dad's cousin who used to spend Christmas with us, and the beloved dog,Who got along well with Tika and boost, of My cousin (dad's cousins daughter) who also used to spend Christmases with us]

I have to work at managing the grief around this holiday. Not looking for sympathy, it's just a thing that is true. Three of us moved completely out of state to basically the same town and we are experimenting with planning a Christmas this year more suitable to three people than 20. We will open gifts, we will have a good meal, we will go for a probably short hike, we will drive out Christmas Eve looking at decorated houses,  we will see about trying to visit some of the many local waterfalls that we haven't seen yet, we will go through our notes and photos from our big trip in October, We will probably watch some Christmas shows or movies. we might do a jigsaw puzzle. Whether a new tradition will spring out of this remains to be determined.

This will be our ninth Christmas without Dad Cheering us on and preparing parts of a Christmas feast to browse from all day and mom trying to keep him moderate and doling out love. Missing them still feels like yesterday.

I have mom's Christmas T-shirt that she received fairly late in her life. It's almost new. I have worn it at Christmas. I don't feel like mom when I do. But the message on the front feels like her.

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