Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Hard For The Holidays

It is officially time for me to turn off the “anti” Christmas sentiment as Thanksgiving has passed.  I have always resisted and pretty much objected to not being allowed to celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving without being overlapped by Christmas sale propaganda.  I have not always been this way.  But I have to go back to my childhood to remember when I embraced Christmas.  But my childhood is also when it began.

It was the year of my seventh grade, I was thirteen years old.  And of course, during the Christmas holidays.  Three relatives had passed away between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  That was the first year that I was not able to enjoy everything that I had received.

And then in 1988, just prior to Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin’s Disease.  Admittedly, I was a “seasonal” Christian meaning that I went to church at least on Easter and Christmas Eve.  I still approached my minister as I chose that particular moment to recognize God.  And just as Job did, I questioned why, when for the first time I appeared to have turned my life around, everything going right for me, I would have it all brought crashing down.  Even two years later, as I was finally able to breath as I had been pronounced in remission, the scars had developed.  Over the next decade, things would get much worse as it seemed every crisis, whether it resulted in someone passing away or not, occurred around one of the big two holidays.

*  my stepmother, crossing the street, hit by a car, two days before Christmas

*  my former father-in-law being misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease being kept in a nursing home drugged up on psychotropic drugs instead of realizing it was his regular meds that were causing the mental issues as his vitals were not being followed properly

*  my ex-wife (then still married to her) was hit head on in a car accident just after a New Year’s Day

*  Wendy was experiencing a severe bleeding issue that brought on other concerns right before an Easter holiday

*  my heart surgery was done just after an Easter Holiday

*  I was diagnosed Septic just before this past Easter

This list is more than three times longer.  But you get the general idea.  An approaching holiday to me, means most likely another crisis/tragedy for me to deal with.

This thought process, though in full swing though, has been shaken at least a little bit beginning in 2004 with the adoption of our oldest daugther.  The issues and events still occur, as I have come to expect, but I do my best now to not let these things interfere with my daughters’ enthusiasm.  Tonight, as we are walking through the Christmas Tree Shoppe, Madison came right out and asked me, “Daddy, why don’t you like Christmas?”  I love my daughters more than anything on this Earth and the last thing I would ever want to do is take their innocence away, especially when it comes to Christmas and Easter.

And even though every holiday comes and goes, and their smiles are endless as they spot their gifts under the tree, or see that the Easter bunny had delivered them baskets, at least my oldest has noticed that there is a grown up aspect to the holidays.  I have so much work to do to make sure that they do not grow up to believe about the holidays as I have grown accustomed to.

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