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NotMoms' Holiday Grief Leads to a Happy New Year

For women who are childfree by chance, December holidays can be melancholy, not jolly. But grief is a process, and it’s hard to predict the triggers for tears, or a blissful season of smiles.

Happy 2012, NotMoms! End-of-year holidays are over, and everybody’s talkin’ about fresh starts and new commitments in the New Year. Were you with family or old friends? Here’s hoping things went well, with personal boundaries established and respected.  

Throughout December, thanks to Google Alerts, I noted a variety of posts and articles from around the globe hinting at the melancholy felt by many women in the ‘by chance’ contingent. In every instance, the person was describing grief. At its core, that’s the name for the pain some NotMoms feel a good deal of the time. Grief. There’s been a loss of a long-held dream, and it hurts to let it go.

A universal characteristic of grief is that it comes in waves that are both unexpected and unique. For example: During the holidays, a scent trigger like gingerbread might bring tears at the thought of dashed plans to make Christmas cookies with your own kids. But, a year later, the smell of gingerbread is no problem; you’re blind-sided by something totally unrelated instead. 

Or…perhaps it’s a year when you jingle your bells and rock around the Christmas tree without any “if-only” and “what if” tapes playing in your head. Frankly, I’m surprised as any to place myself in that category after dreading an Empty Nest Christmas for years.

It was our house, you see, that filled with family and friends every Christmas Eve for more than 12 years.  They were generally adult celebrations, as I’m an only child and HubbyMine’s sibling is out-of-town. As older family members died or moved to monitored residences, recent holidays have been like the end of a game of Musical Chairs.  Sooner or later, it’s just you.

Last year, my mother-in-law graced us with a dream vaco in the Caribbean from day-after-Christmas to the new year. It was wonderful. Even so, I learned that a snowbird holiday can be lonelier — and so very inauthentic — that I’d rather be at home.

And this year, so it was. Christmas with HubbyMine, the cat and really good food and drink. Friends by phone, by Skype and in person.  Who’da thunk it? One of the best Christmases ever.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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