Friday, December 7, 2012

"It Could Be Our Last Holiday"

Throughout the years, I've always heard Mama say that we HAVE to spend the Holidays together! "Ya never know, it could be our last." I've been hearing this ever since I can remember - whether it was directed at me, my brother (from another mother) or the many other family members she helped raise. This is how Mama's mind has always worked: Holidays + Family = Happiness!

Wow, talk about "guilt trip", this can be a heavy topic for me in therapy & would probably take years to resolve, but thought I'd share it with you. It's not only about the Catholic/Jewish Guilt or the Italian/New York Culture, it's because family IS & ALWAYS HAS been very important to Mama. It's an essential part of who she was, is & always will be. Once family & friends started to die or lost contact, her sense of self started to decline, and so did her health. For me, this proves that we all have the need to be around people, something most of us take for granted.

What a switch that now, I AM the one saying "this could be our last Holiday together." It's so bizarre that I'm thinking & saying this, but there's a certain amount of truth to it. After all, her health has been getting worse. The reality is that this COULD be our last year to enjoy the Holidays together & we are determined to make the most of them & have a good time, damn it!

It kills me to have this thought in my mind, but that's the way it is. I've feared this every time my husband & I have gone on a trip or needed a break for a few days. We've been living with this heavy, dark cloud hanging over our heads, but obviously it's getting darker & hanging lower with her recent decline.

I know we "should" treat each day as if it could be the last & we do most of the time, but this is our final "letting go" process. The mix of emotions have fast forwarded my roller coaster ride & keeps me walking a tight rope. I'm not complaining (well maybe a little - that's what I do) but this is how I feel & I want you to know that you're NOT alone.

This Holiday will be bittersweet, but it'll be special. We'll make it as memorable as we can & reminisce about past Holidays when the table was filled with family, friends and non stop food from morning til night. I wish we were back home in NYC where it would be a little more comforting, but we're not. Even our last few years in NYC, the holidays consisted of just the three of us, but we still had a good time & friends were always nearby.

Be grateful for whatever time you have with your loved ones & enjoy it as much as you can, because each day is a gift. A cliché, but for me it's true now more than ever.The joy & laughs we share have increased & that means the world to her. We plan to make this Holiday the best we can, because "Ya never know, it could be our last."

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