I awoke this morning to a layer of frost covering everything my eyes touched and it reminded me that in spite of the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, that the Winter Solstice is only a week away.
The days following the Solstice, leading into January, is the time Draco and I normally celebrate Yule, although we haven’t truly celebrated in years.
At my friend B’s urging, we finally put up a small tree last weekend that she sent from her Mom’s house, insisting we use it since her mom passed last month and she leaves today for Switzerland and then Italy, to spend the holiday with her daughter and grandchildren. Before that, my only concession to the holiday season had been a table cloth she insisted I take.
Draco knows I’m trying to reclaim our holidays now that Mom is gone and Mini-Me is grown, but he also knows how hard this year is for me. He is following my lead, listening to every word, and trying to make it easier. I appreciate him for this all the more because being attentive isn’t normally his strong suit. He’s used to me being an independant, strong and assertive woman – at least in our home and marriage. He doesn’t really know what to do with the uncertainty he’s seen in me the last few years. To be honest, I really haven’t known what to do with it either.
As we finished putting up the tree last weekend, which was just a string of lights and a star on top, I mentioned that it looked a little bare without decorations, so last night, he snuck off and bought 2 boxes of ornaments (all our Yule decorations are in storage 2-1/2 hours away).
I had also mentioned recently how I missed the smell of oils in the house (I’m an oil burner junkie), so when we stopped at a store and a lady was selling oils from the trunk of her car in the parking lot, he bought a bottle and got her number so that I will have a steady connection for my oil addiction.
Another thing about this time of year is that as we moved past Samhain (Halloween), we entered the dark half of the year. A time when the harvest is nearly done, sunlight begins to loose its strength, nights get longer and the cold begins to creep in.
At Yule, we are entering the heart of the cold and the dark. It’s a time when activity is limited and families gather around the fire to share stories, memories and to reflect on the passing seasons.
For me, it’s a time of reflecting on my personal harvest from the year and when I attempt to plan better for next year, so that the harvest will be plentiful.
As I reflect, I see that we weren’t really prepared last year and because of it, I am still scrambling trying to lay in supplies for the barren months we now face. There is no doubt that this winter will be a difficult one, but I know we will manage somehow, just as we have in winters past.
I also know that I have learned some very valuable lessons, especially about planning for the lean months.
While I own that our planning could have been better, I refuse to give myself too hard of a time for it this year. This time last year, things were falling apart fast at my parent’s house. We were blind to the fact that Mom had discovered a lump in her abdomen that she would announce to the family after the New Year in January. We were looking for our own place and trying to stay close enough for me to help with Mom without having to live there. We were planning, but Mom’s annoncement in January would throw my family, and my life, into a tail-spin no one was prepared for and all my plans would fall apart at my feet as I tried to help my family while loosing my mom.
That is something I had no way, and no opportunity, to plan for.
Now, it’s just me and Draco. My family is pretty much non-existant with the exception of Mini-Me, Chicklet and a few friends that have clung to my side through it all.
Moving two and a half hours away was “planned”, literally, in a week. When we got here, we didn’t even have a home to come to and stayed in hotels for nearly 3 weeks. My health had gone downhill, especially my mental health, while I spent the last 3 years trying to take care of everyone but myself.
My spiritual life suffered so much that I’ve begun to redefine it and what I want from it. I don’t believe that I could have honestly prepared us, or even myself, for what the last year had in store, so I chalk it up to one of life’s many hard lessons and move forward. We will get through this. I will get through this.
In the last six months, I haven’t always felt certain of that. Loosing my mom has been an experience, and a pain, unlike any other. I have learned so much, so fast, about the woman my mother really was. I have been forced to see our relationship for what it really was. It has been one of the most difficult times of my life, but I have survived.
My family, that I always thought was so integral in my life, has treated me as if I were disposable, and it nearly broke me completely, but I have survived, and what’s more, is that I have learned.
I know now that I can make it without them. I know that with only myself to answer to, I can make the decisions that need to be made. I know that my life should be what I make it, not what others choose for me. And? I know that no matter what life throws at me, I will survive that, too.