AND THEN AGAIN….BY Tamara Pettit

……Put the goblins and witches away.  Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the holiday, and it appears to have become merely a brief exit ramp on the road to Christmas.  Nope, pretty soon it’s full-on Christmas festivities.

……So, what do you do to prepare for the festivities when you are not festive?  Bill died last holiday season on Dec. 15 and I truly don’t remember last Christmas.   But, I know I will remember this year.  What I think is more important though is to remember I am not alone in my situation, I look around the town and see many who have lost loved ones.  We are members in a strange sorority or fraternity, and I am sure we each will find our way to cope.   I am trying to look at the deeper meaning of Christmas and focus on that,

…..Why am I sharing this depressing column?    Because, dear reader, I have shared everything with you since I begun this venture.   I sometimes treat this column just as if we were sitting across from each other having a  cup of coffee.  I am the elephant in the room this  Christmas.

…I need to have a plan.  I’ve always had a plan.  Because feeling in control is important to me.  Maybe that’s why  I attacked every piece of maintenance on the house and yard, the last of which was painting the inside.  The painters finished yesterday after three weeks of co-existence during which I was worried Max was getting more attached to them than me.   The new Christmas tree where all the lights work meaning no repeated trips to Dollar General for more strings to replace the burnt out string should cut down my stress.  The box sits in my closet taunting me and reminding me that Christmas will come regardless of my resistance.

The Nazarene Church in Weirton is hosting a seminar on how to deal with the holidays if you’ve lost a loved one.  I know of one mother who had lost her son who attended last year and had to leave she was sobbing so loudlyl

So what’s my plan?

**Try not to ruin every one else’s Christmas.  If you aren’t happy then darn it stay home. 

**Find solace in church.  Remember you’re Catholic and you can go to church everyday of the week if you want.

**Don’t compare your Christmas to anyone else.   Sure, they may seem happy enough this year, but death and tragedy have visited us all

**Try not to shop for clothes.  The clerks are tired of bringing you a dress, only to hear you whine  “But, I have nowhere to wear that”

**If it hurts…..don’t do it. Stoicism is not required during this time.

**Spend as much time with the littles as you can.

**And just face it:  You’re a mess and that’s OK.  Life is about living and loving and if you hadn’t loved so deeply you wouldn’t grieve so deeply.  You were so blessed to have such a love and thank God for that every day of the holiday season.

……. And remember, the holidays aren’t about YOU.    They are about that little, tiny baby in the cradle.  Try to focus on him.