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At our weekendly breakfast outing I was telling Lici how I'm not so fond of christmas music, or at least not anything written in the last century. Too many of the tunes and carols are tastelessly saccharine. (Abney Park's Dark Christmas album is more to my tastes: Carol of the Bells, etc. (Yes yes, the carol is just under a century old. Thbbt.))

The Wild Colonials have a song which does hold a special place in my heart though. This time of year many folks go about their capitalist extravaganza and familial gatherings with great enthusiasm, but there are many people for whom it is a trying season. Contrary to popular belief suicide is not much more common than at other times of the year. But suicide is not the only metric of well-being. Many people do not have the finances to support Giftmas, especially with the economy as it is. Many cannot afford heat for their homes. Many suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Many do not have families to turn to because they were kicked out for being queer. Many people have lost loved ones and will find empty chairs at their tables this year. Too often the season of charity is victim to the most mindless acts of brutality.

Yesterday I learned that my grandmother had passed away sunday evening. She was 73. At the end of June my younger-elder sister died at 30 years, leaving my 8 year old niece. Last August my cousin died just as young. His fiancee, a nurse, was with him. All of them sudden, all of them unexpected. In a year and a half I've earned the right to say that I have a strong family history of heart attacks.

Try to remember that the season is not about gifts. And it's not about religion either. Things and obligations only feed the void within. The season is about people, about humanity and empathy. It is a reminder to live mindfully, to cherish, to forgive, to remember.

Date: 2008-12-10 05:03 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Oh Wren. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother. It certainly has been a rough year and a half for you and your family. Thank you for this reminder of what is important in life. Although you are far away I am still thankful for your friendship. Hope to hear from you again soon.


Date: 2008-12-10 07:21 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile]
You reminded me of one of my favorite memories.

Last christmas was, without a doubt, my best christmas ever. I spent it with my mother and my best friend-slash-adopted-sister and her significant other. We had no money for gifts, instead we shared each others company. The managers of the apartments gave us a full turkey dinner, and we ate it while watching funny movies. We did exchange a few material things, but they were things we already owned that were better suited to the other person (such as a frame for my futon, and some stoppered glass bottles Adina had always admired), which made them all the better.

This year, my biological father has contacted me. After twenty years, I finally have a Dad. Talk about a christmas present!

*hugs* I'm so sorry your Grandmother has passed. I'm sending a prayer for your health, and the health of all your loved ones.

Take care, sweetheart.

Date: 2008-12-12 09:33 am (UTC)From: [identity profile]
Wren, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope the season is for you, what you urge it to be for others--remembrance, togetherness, rejuvenation. And that you have at least a few lovely people to lean on and share the joys and sorrows with.

After my grandfather passed away a few years ago, it occurred to me that my grandmother must feel something of that about holidays now, that they are stronger reminders of loss during the times that we always gathered together as family.

About Christmas--I admit I like most Christmas music, although to me that means the older songs mostly (but I'm becoming reconciled to a few recent ones, like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). Some of the most beautiful are the most religious, e.g. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"--there's a sweet sad song about the meaning of Christmas. But Christmas songs are also something I share with family, something we all enjoy as music, across the lines of differing religious and non-religious beliefs.

Here's thinking of you.

June 2017

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