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Soon I'll be done crawling through the holiday season on my belly.  Soon I can stop dragging myself through these days heavy laden with sacks of emotional baggage as I slog from home to work and back again through the streets, in the buses, on the subway.

Soon the long struggle since Thanksgiving (or since Columbus Day, depending on how I count it) of coping as best as I could with the holiday happiness all around me will finally take an extended break.  Other people will be feeling let down that the holidays are done and everything is getting back to normal, but I will be celebrating it.  I cannot wait for 2014 to get here.  I cannot wait for this week and weekend to be over.  I can hardly wait for next Monday to come.  I am practically counting the hours.

I'll have about six weeks of respite before the next wave of predicable sadness comes in February, during the week between my mom's death anniversary and Valentine's Day.  But the whole world won't be marking my grief anniversary, and anyway I'll be really busy with a 15 hour workday that day.  Then, while Valentine's Day is a trigger for many sad memories, that was true before my mother died, so it's not quite the same.

This has been a really really devastating holiday season and I am not sure why.  Maybe the hardest one since the first one without mom.  I ran into triggers everywhere.  I could not seem to escape from reminiscence.  All the old songs.  City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style... children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile.  Everyone who wished me well was like a knife in the heart. Cards from relatives and friends.  I wanted to grab everyone and say "Look at me!  Can't you see I just want all this to be over with as quickly as possible?"  Fortunately I did not do that. Apparently I did an OK job of hiding my feelings. That's something I am not good at because it's something I don't like to do.  But I tried very hard to keep from bringing everyone else down.  I asked about their plans so I did not have to talk about myself.  The struggle of hiding my deep sadness ate me up inside and I am absolutely exhausted.  Sleeping badly. Emotionally and physically wrung out.

I made it through Thanksgiving OK, but in the days that followed I sank into a blue funk.

On Christmas Eve I did have a few good moments while singing Christmas carols before the worship service.  But it was just a few moments of genuine joyfulness that quickly passed.  I made it through Christmas Day fine, and even made some good phone calls.  But Christmas evening and the days that followed were a real crashdown.

I've got to work tomorrow and staying busy will probably keep my mood in check.  But I am already fighting off the memory of my mom's last New Year alive, a nursing home horror story I still do not feel comfortable telling.  After six years it makes tears come even to think this much about it.

I usually manage to keep busy on the actual holiday, but isolation in the days that follow makes the hard feelings come rushing in.  If I had the energy to take better care of myself, I would make more of an effort to head that off at the pass by avoiding the long days of unstructured time on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday.  I already have plans for Saturday, if the snowstorm is not too bad.  By then there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

It is a relief to know that no matter what I do or don't do, by next Monday I will have made it through another hard set of year-end holidays.

It can't come soon enough for me.

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