Happy Nepal National Unity Day! Happy Anniversary of the Designated Hitter Rule!
The point is, every day is a holiday somewhere in the world. And today is no different. I bring this up because, well, I didn't poke my head in here to wish you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, or Happy New Year. I could go with my usual tried-and-true excuse of being overly busy (which is still very much the case), but this time there's actually something else going on.
I wasn't ever one of those people who got seriously gung-ho over the holidays (and especially not since I entered puberty), but when my dad died a scant four days before Christmas in 2007 it made the holidays particularly un-festive that year. As you can imagine. I'd heard people say that "the first year is the hardest" when it comes to dealing with the death of a loved one, but I thought I was doing really well throughout much of the year following my dad's death. Yes, I thought about him every day, I missed him very much, and yes, I cried occasionally. But I thought I was handling things well - so much so that I figured the 2008 holidays would be back to business as usual.
Oh, how wrong I was.
First, it was the damned holiday music that started playing in every store even before Thanksgiving. I don't spend much time in stores, so I wasn't subjected to it as much as I might have been, but it was enough that by the time early December rolled around I realized that every time I heard a Christmas song I got angry. Not depressed, not nostalgic, but angry. It bothered me that everyone was preparing for a fun holiday, when I was coming up on the anniversary of my father's death. Evidently that whole "first year is the hardest" thing has some truth to it after all.
I made it through the holidays just fine in the end, and I don't think anyone really knew what I was thinking through most of it, but I couldn't help but wonder - will there ever come a time when I don't automatically think of my father when Christmas comes around? When I don't get upset with the cheerful dispositions of shoppers and the glittery decorations in front windows? When the holidays are just the holidays?
In 2007, I skipped doing a holiday newsletter for the first time in many, many years. In 2008, I couldn't bring myself to do one, either. I wrote a draft, which still sits on my computer (un-looked at since I first attempted to create it). I don't know if I'll eventually get a letter out to people in the early part of this year or not. I feel like I need to send out something, because I know some friends and family feel out of the loop - they're asking questions about things they'd know about had I gotten around to sending out a letter - and because I kind of feel like I need to force myself back into something of the old routine. But it's hard. I wish everyone was as web-savvy as the few folks who I know read this blog, because I'd just send out an email with a link to some kind of online holiday missive and be done with it. As it is, I'm still faced with the daunting task of finalizing the letter, printing it and getting copies made, addressing a gazillion envelopes, and stamping them all before dropping off the stacks at the post office. It's a holiday ritual I used to kind of enjoy, but that may be a ritual I never find pleasurable again.
Then again, maybe I'll just get my act together and send the letters out in honor of India's Republic Day on January 26. Yeah, okay, that's a little ambitious. How about Kuwait's Liberation Day on February 26? Could be do-able. Point is, whatever day you receive a holiday letter from me, whenever one should arrive, I guarantee it's a holiday somewhere in the world.
Maybe I should just pick a different holiday to mark with an annual letter from now on, actually. Any suggestions?