Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas gloom

I've been thinking about could I not with black Friday coming and going by in a flurry? I did not go shopping until after 4:00 pm Friday, and that was only because my in-laws insisted on getting presents for my girls. I would have just stayed home and avoided all the craziness if I could have.

I used to love Christmas time as a child. It was a time of joy and laughter, family and friends, and presents and sweets. Now I dread the holiday. I think of all the stress of finding a gift for each family member and close friend and hoping they like it. There is the expense too, and that is what is killing me this year.

Year before last I made a knit poncho for several of my female family members. A blue one for my mother, a gray one for my sister, and a burgundy one for my niece. Now the yarn I used was not cheap, and each poncho put me out around $45 in yarn alone. I spent about a week working on each one (I put in at least 5 hours every day during nap times, after bedtime, and when ever the TV was on). The ponchos turned out beautifully, and I had plans on buying yarn to make one for myself but it never happened. I had some left over yarn from making these three ponchos that just sat in with all my other scrap yarns. I decided to get it out and make a poncho for myself out of these left over bits. My niece came over to visit while I was working on it, and she commented what nice yarn it was. Then the words came out of her mouth..."you should make a poncho like this for me." I actually bit my lip to keep from screaming at her. I was way beyond irritated and standing on the fence of rage. I had spent quite a few hours of my time and more money than I usually spend on extended family, to make that burgundy poncho for her...guess she didn't like it though...since she forgot about it completely.

So besides the stress of trying to find the perfect gift, I always have that scenario of her forgetting what I gave her even after seeing something nearly identical. It is just one more thing to nag at me during the December holidays.

Best present I ever gave was to my husband. I have given nicer gifts, but I was able to give him something he wanted without him figuring it out until he opened it. I had bought Gears of War for him and wrapped it up inside of a shirt I also bought for him. I left the shirt out where I knew he would bump into it, then after he saw it I took it and hid it. When he asked if I bought him a shirt for Christmas, I said yes (I had after all...even if I didn't tell him it wasn't his real gift). He was visibly disappointed from learning I had got him a shirt. I don't think I'll ever forget the look on his face when he unfolded the shirt and the game fell out. The hardest part was trying to come up with reasons why we shouldn't buy the game before Christmas. He was constantly showing me articles in magazines and new screen shots online. Ha ha, it was worth it though. Every other time I didn't even try to hide what I had gotten for him, so he was really caught off guard.

I must admit, the thought of Christmas this year is much more depressing than it has been in years past. I still hate the stress of shopping in large crowds (I swear every person in the state goes to the same damn stores I do when I do) and there is absolutely no money for gifts this year either. Those aren't the things that are bugging me though. This year will be different because my husband and the father of my children won't be here. Our family is fractured, and it is glaringly obvious during holidays.

I'm not sure I'll even drag out our tree and put up. I know the girls would like it, but I really don't want this stupid 7 foot looming tree of gloom in my living room. I know it would only remind me of how bad things are for us right now.

I hate watching TV because of all the couples that are shown. I hate being in public and seeing two people hold each other. I lay in bed at night and fume with anger. He stole so many things from me, and I hate him for it. I was happy and my life was everything that I had ever wanted. Sure, we were broke most of the time, but that never mattered to me. I had a man I loved and who loved me, and we were starting a family together. Our daughter was born 2 weeks before Christmas, and even though I still hurt incredibly bad from the cesarean, it was one of the best Christmas' I've ever had. Why did he take that away from me? Why was our love cast aside like trash? The most important things in my life was my marriage and my family...he has torn those away from me. Through abuse, he severed my family and ripped my marriage into shreds. He never had the right to destroy my dreams and my happiness.

So what I'm thinking about this year are all the things I don't have. No more evenings sitting on the couch sipping hot cocoa and talking, no cuddling together in the cold of Montana winters, no lazy winter days as lovers. All of that is gone. Now I sit on the couch alone, wrapped in my afghan being reminded of all the times it held both of us. I wake up at night cold and shivering, and there is no warm body there to help me stay warm, instead I have to get another blanket or just shiver.

When I am sitting, wrapped in my afghan, I am mad. I cry hot tears of burning anger. I am so angry at him...he stole what I cherished most in this world. How can I ever forgive him? I don't think there is a worse offense he could have committed against me. Burn my house down, take all my money, break my legs, kill me...but don't ever take away my love and safety. Nothing could have hurt me more than having my husband ripped out of my arms. It still hurts when I realize all over again that I lost my husband. The kind and gentle man who loved me and intertwined his heart with mine is gone...he is gone and all that is left is a monster who is hateful and mean, but looks exactly like him. I am still deeply in love with my husband...but I hate the man who looks like him with every fiber of my being.

I think of it as if this man murdered the man I married. They are nothing alike. It is too painful to think that the hand that threatened to beat me to death is the same hand that used to caress my face so tenderly. The eyes that used to well with tears while he expressed his love for me couldn't possibly be the same eyes that filled with hatred and rage towards me. It just don't seem possible that the kindest most loving man I've ever met could be the same man who towered over me with a hammer in his hand telling me I deserved to die. I just can't accept it is the same man. My husband is dead, and I don't know who this asshole is who is pretending to be him...but I hate him.

I am doing everything in my power to ignore Christmas. I keep my curtains closed at night so I don't see the neighbor's holiday lights. I don't watch the news because I don't want to see anything that has to do with holiday shoppers or the holiday. I am pretending it is still October. My daughter turns 4 in just 5 days...I am ignoring that too. How do I acknowledge that her father won't be here to celebrate with her? She is our child, we created her together in an act of love...and now he isn't even here to witness her growing.

The only thing I'm looking forward to this Christmas, is it finally being over.

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