All The Way From …”The Bright End of Nowhere”

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Hey, Mr. Chips,

As I sit there, In the midst of my umpteenth Matthew Good concert my mind begins to run as fast as my legs, and hands were jamming to the songs. Flooded with thoughts. Trying my hardest to keep my shit together in the middle of a rock show at a damn casino. …I couldn’t.

I began to think about Jen, and what Matt Good meant to her, his songs, his lyrics, his messages, and his fight. What it means, and has meant for me. My mom, brother, and soon enough… Jen’s daughter, Abbey.

I then think back to when I used to write somewhere between occasionally and frequently on my blog. About my grieving, my loss, and just my everyday fight to find another tomorrow.

THEN… I think about that night when I just about closed my eyes and let go on that highway years ago. Someone saved me. I went home that night, and finally found the bravery, and the strength to write about this very journey. Thinking that one day, maybe this would bring me joy, and hopefully in the process provide others with at least the smallest ounce of courage.

THEN… I just stopped… I stopped thinking at the show, and I realized I’ve just stopped writing all together almost. Why. It’s done so much for me. Tears began to well down my eyes even more, so I shut my eyes and swayed my head to “Advertising on Police Cars” and I swear for a moment, only Jen and I were at that show. She held my hand, and said… “Blair, Write..” I swear, I could hear her say those two words, and then boom, heavy guitar, and light show on the stage. Rock show was back on.

As the show progressed, I was, in a weird way forced to continue thinking a million thoughts, to allow myself to keep it together.   But, I then thought to myself… Really, why have I not been writing this year? It used to bring me so much joy, and so much strength, and others.

But, THEN, I dug at myself a bit more, and perhaps found the reason. Selfishly… I don’t feel that I have to in order to survive anymore. When I first began writing, I didn’t know if anyone was ever going to read anything, but I ultimately had to write to save myself. There were no other options.

I thought, maybe one day I will find solace, and content.

I have finally found just that. I can’t pinpoint the exact date, or time, or what it was that finally allowed me for the first time in possibly forever, to feel… Good, I felt content, and I felt good about myself. I began to not fear tomorrow. I can, and will say I do believe there was three particular events that occurred this year that I think really helped me get to “contentment”

 

  1. Professional Life. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know I hold myself to an absolutely unbelievably unrealistic standard, and am rarely, if ever satisfied with myself. I struggle with failure, and struggle with needing more. For the first time ever, I am perfectly happy, and succeeding in my professional life, and those feelings have slowly eroded, and gone away. It was 11:11 a couple months ago, and I couldn’t even think of wish. Then, I kind of chuckled, thought… Everything is ok right now. I have what I need.

 

  1. You may laugh, and it seems silly… perhaps it is a bit. But, I’ve always loved cats. Grew up with them. My whole family is full of cat people. Amanda, not so much. I’ve begged her, and begged our entire relationship to one day get a cat. Finally, I just gave up. Was convinced I would never have one. Then one day, she drove me out to the boonies and surprised me with a litter of Maine Coon kittens, allowing me to choose my very own cat dude. I couldn’t believe it. In that very moment, I don’t know if I have ever felt that much joy, and excitement. I could not contain myself. To this day, Kukui continues to provide endless amounts of entertainment, and joy to our family. Amanda included, who is absolutely in love with kitten. As much joy as this massive fuzzrat has brought me, I can say he’s done the same for our dog; Kona as well.

 

  1. July 25, 2015, and every day after. I got to finally call the girl of my dreams; my wife. I knew the day I asked Amanda out I wanted her to be my wife. Lofty goals for a grade 9 student, but I knew. We’ve been through hell, and back together a few times, so to finally marry Amanda, was simply a dream come true. Every day since, I put my ring on in the morning and I just feel like a different person.   I am beyond confident in myself; I am suddenly comfortable with myself, and for the first time ever… I feel proud of myself, and feel accomplished. Something that I have forever longed for.

 

These three events I believe have allowed me to find happiness and joy in my life every day. Sure, I still have shitty days… I think everyone does. But, now, just knowing you’re ok, can go such a long way when you’re having those shitty days. I never used to have that to help me get through times when I was down. I didn’t have many options on how to get myself out of ruts. I was trying to learn some different things. So I would write, and it almost always was able to pull me temporarily out of where I was. Then, I’d receive so many notes, messages, and constant feedback from friends, family and people I don’t even know about how much I was helping them, and I was able to feel for a moment, a small sense of pride. Though, it never lasted. But, it was all part of the process I think of getting to where I am today.

When I would write to save myself, as you know it was a tremendous process for me. It was emotionally, and mentally exhausting. So I would often times have to work myself up for it. I would race home knowing I needed to get to my computer, and write. Be it at 6pm after work, or at 10:30pm after something else. I ‘d stay up as late as I needed to till I could finally take a deep breath, go on with half a smile, and go to sleep not fearing tomorrow might be the same dreadful day. I would look forward to connecting with people who had read my post. But, there aren’t days where I race home to write, or go to bed longing to see the comments on social media in the morning. Or, since I felt better, selfishly, again… I was good with just that, and no more. There aren’t nights I come home anymore, and feel like I am two feet tall, and to get back to height, I need to light up the incense and type.  Now, I am able to come home to my wife, and my two boys and I feel like everything is going to be fine, no matter how shitty the day may have gone. I just feel stronger, and they always light me up with smiles, and laughter.

Another reason… This may seem weird; especially for those who know me really well, but if I am not within my circle of comfort, and friends… I am very quiet, and humble. I’ve been referred to as a sponge in these circumstances, quiet and absorbing.   I don’t usually like to take much credit for things, I don’t like much to talk about my successes, if any, and I don’t care to make myself feel superior to others, or boast about perhaps having more, or something someone doesn’t. Like… happiness. I know how hard that can be when you’re struggling, and people kick you when you’re down, even if they don’t mean to. I’ve been there. I do not want to humiliate anyone, and I don’t want to toot my own horn, and brag that I have finally found some piece of joy.

So as much bravery, and strength as it took for me to start this blog a few years ago, after almost letting go.   I’ve seemingly come 180, and now am learning to find the bravery, and the strength to write about my life now that I am holding on, and things are okay. It’s a different take on things, but it’s amazing how when I felt so desperate, lost, and out of control. I created GoneAwayBoys to talk about how I felt just that, but now that I feel in control, and happy… I don’t want to talk about it all. I want to just go about my business. Quietly.

It’s a different bravery I feel I have to find now, but for whatever reason it almost seems harder now. I was out of options when this blog started. I had nothing left. I almost let go. Now, I just… feel like I have so much.

As long, painful and strenuous as this journey from complete depression to happiness has been, being able to finally say that I am okay has not been easy. As I’ve mentioned I believe there were three big events this year that allowed me to write this, but more than that it’s been all of the little things along the way. I have worked so hard on getting myself better, and have been so cognizant of it. I can honestly say though, as much as this blog has saved my life… without the comments, the messages, and the feedback that I have received from friends, and strangers I certainly would not be able to write to you today. Everyone that has even done so much as liked a post I wrote, you’ve made a difference in my life. You really have. You have helped get me here today.

Even a year ago… I could never imagine saying some of the things I have said in this entry, and I certainly never believed this one as much as I do now, and that I will leave with you.

… It does get better.

 

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What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

Please… Have a Very, Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays – From… The Rest of Us.

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Today…  My heart feels a little heavier, my stomach feels a little more knotted, and today I’ll battle and push just a little harder. 

Today, used to be the day I waited 364 other days for, I’d lose sleep week’s in advance anxiously awaiting today.  I’d stay up late and shake the presents trying to guess what I got for Christmas; I’d stay up late just to try and hang with the adults, trying to be cool, as if they were the barometer of “cool” Today, I’d try do all I could to exhaust myself so tomorrow would come faster. Part of it, I am sure, and I hope is simply growing up, and the fact that I am not 11, or 12 anymore.  But, the other part of it…  Well, life has his own rhyme and reason, I just haven’t quite figure out what it is, just yet.

Today is Wednesday, December 25, 2013.  That is all.  I no longer anxiously await waking up today, I no longer rip down the stairs, I no longer subtly make as much noise as I can so my mom, and Jen get their asses out of bed so we can all be together, and open gifts.  NoToday, I woke up at 8:23 am, rolled over, threw on jeans, a hoody and took out the dogs, then I made a coffee, heavily laced with Baileys as if it were going to knock me back out.  It didn’t, so I proceeded to watch TSN.  No need to subtly make as much noise as I can to wake the household anymore.  It didn’t matter.  Today, I woke up and it was Wednesday, December 25, 2013.  That was all.  I did nothing different than I did on Wednesday December 18th, or 11th, and I certainly won’t do much different on Tuesday, December 31stToday, is just Wednesday.

Still, Today, fortunately I was able to spend all of today with the one’s I love, the one’s I go to sleep with at night, and the one’s I am lucky to wake up beside every morning.  Amanda, Kona and our seasonal dog; Krimson. I wake up next to this trio every day, and I consider being one of the luckiest, today was no different just because of what today is supposed to be.    I was still fortunate enough to have so many great friends and family who sent their best to me today, and wished me a Merry Christmas, knowingly, or unknowingly of today’s difficulty, the salutations were much appreciated.  I was still fortunate enough to partake in the tradition of Christmas Day gifts, as Amanda and I exchanged gifts, hugs, and kisses, and it was special.

But today, our family remains split, and divided, we continue running, and hurting.  In Edmonton, In Calgary, In Victoria, In Vegreville, In Mayerthorpe you will find us.  We try our absolute damnedest to avoid today, to get around it, to ignore that today is Christmas Day.  We try so hard to run from it, we convince ourselves it’s just Wednesday, December 25, 2013, or at the very least we do a damn good job of pretending.  You eventually become so numb to it all, that faking it is no longer really faking it.  It becomes real.  We try so hard to run from it, that we separate ourselves, and we draw further from each other, further from each other, and further from ourselves.

There was no real effort on anyone’s behalf to get everyone together, and celebrate in a unified place today.  I tried to justify 300 KMs as an excuse to why I couldn’t be with everyone. Before we moved to Mahogany it would take me a day and a half just to accumulate 300 KMs.  But, today I couldn’t do it just to be with family.  Deep down, I think I know I want to just try and replace this sorrow, and misery with a bit of normalcy, as much as we can, or at least as much as we ever will.  The only way to probably do that is to be in one place, with everyone and relish Christmas Day, to just fucking do it.  Even if we are forever without one, we are always going to be, but are we going to run forever? … Probably.

I do not mean to drag you down today if you are reading this in-between whatever it is you do on days like today, I do not mean to search for sympathy, and it certainly is not my intention to in any way steal Christmas spirits from you if you are reading.  Merely,  I am once again writing what I am completely incapable of speaking, and sharing verbally, to those who matter most.  Though we likely are all feeling the exact same In Edmonton, In Calgary, In Victoria, In Vegreville and in Mayerthorpe, but we leave the elephant to dance in the room.

Though, if there is anything I can do… though, this may be cheesy, is I will tell you this, and hell do I ever mean it…. Just enjoy today.  Celebrate, and be merry today, for what today is, and for what today is meant to be; Christmas Day.  Do not take today, and the moments that come with it for granted, not for a single second.  Enjoy it all. Soak it all in.

Stop for a second, look around and appreciate what’s around you, even if it is the in-laws, and cousins of their cousins.  Wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, even if you just did, and even if it’s the forty-second time you’ve said “Merry Christmas” today. Mean it more than the last.  Look around again, and tell them you love them, say thank you, and be sincere.

Hold your friends and family a little tighter when you hug them, laugh a little louder today, smile for a little bit longer today, even if it is black socks you just unwrapped out of that gigantic box that you thought for sure was a PS4.  Don’t miss the point.  The point is celebration, the point is togetherness, and the point is family.  For one day, today will just be another day of the week for you, though I hope not for many, many decades, the fact is life can be unruly, cruel, and even more life is unknowing, it can change, it can change instantly, and drastically when you least expect it, and when you’re least prepared.  So let today be very merry, and please, for sake of us who cannot share the same merriness and cheer anymore.   For those of us who are just amidst their 51st Wednesday of the year, Please, and damnit do I mean it when I say this…  Please, Enjoy the living hell out of today. Don’t let it just be Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

Let it be Christmas…  Even if all you got was reindeer pyjamas and black socks.  One day those might be all you have left from today.

God Bless you, Thank you so much for reading. 

Merry Christmas, and please have one hell of a holiday. 

Blair

Crazy to want this, even for a while.

 

Starting Over – My First Christmas

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Starting Over – My First Christmas

A lot has gone since we last spoke on this blog, Amanda and I moved out of Discovery Ridge early in December and into a brand new house in Mahogany.  We’ve been here a few weeks now, and are slowly beginning to get settled in, we have a few more boxes of I don’t even know what left to sort through, but we’ll get there.  The home is beautiful, I couldn’t be happier with it.  We have a lot of work to do in the spring with the yard, a deck and a fence but I am looking forward to all of that.  One of my favorite things about the new house is the office space/2nd spare bedroom upstairs, it’s the one space in the home I am allowed full control of, and I love it!  For those who have read this blog in the past, you know that writing for me is sort of like a ritual, I need music, I need dim lights, I need incense, I need a lot of stars to align to be creative. In a one-bedroom condo, it was difficult to do all of that without being a nuance to someone else.  Now, with the extra space, I am able to get away and do my writing pow-wow more often.  It sounds stupid, but the new home has been much more conducive to my writing.      …I hope I just used that word properly; “conducive” has become my favorite word lately.  My mom will let me know if I used that incorrectly I am sure, haha.

I hope everyone is prepared, and excited for the holidays coming up in a couple of days.  I am a little bit of everything, excited, scared, nervous, sad, the whole works… once again.  Springtime, leading up to the anniversary of Jen’s passing, and December are usually the hardest times of the year for myself, and my family.  This will be our sixth Christmas, and New Year’s without her, and it will be my first real Christmas without Jen.  Scratch that.  Now that I write it out.  I’m petrified.  The year Jen passed away, my mom, Brody and I set out to Cuba last minute, I believe we left Christmas day.  It was the best thing we could have done, cause I didn’t have to see Christmas really at all.  We flew home on New Years day.  Again, it was great cause I didn’t have to see traditional new years back at home.  Years since I’ve been in Hawaii, with Amanda and her family, and last year with both of ours.   That was also great, because you were completely distracted from the holidays here at home.  If we flew out on Xmas day, Terrific, I missed it all again.  If we didn’t, well, it wasn’t as bad cause you were usually so busy preparing for a 2-week trip to Hawaii that you didn’t really notice it as much.  And, in Hawaii, sure we still celebrated Christmas, we had dinner, exchanged gifts, said Merry Christmas.  But we did so in our shorts and flip flops, in 28 degree weather, at a Hawaiian pub.  It wasn’t real.  The people around were doing the same thing, nothing really changed.  It was wake up, coffee, newspaper, breakfast, and beach and then onto some activity, everyone did the same thing there, you never really saw Christmas, so to me it wasn’t really Christmas, it didn’t feel like it at all, new years the same thing.  I was able to avoid it, year after year, and I truly felt as I woke up on January 3rd, or 4th, after the dust had settled, I felt like I had won.  I beat the holidays.  The 3-4 weeks before the holidays, just like the 3-4 weeks before May 7th, you work yourself up so much wondering what it’s going to be like, that you almost psyche yourself out, and that becomes the most difficult part.  When it’s over, and you’re still breathing, you’re still alive… you feel like you’ve won, like you just beat someone in a battle that took nearly a month.  You came out on top.  Christmas and New Years has always been the same thing, Usually around Jan. 3, Jan 4 once it’s all done, I don’t feel like I have to hide from the holidays anymore, I realize that I survived, and maybe, just maybe it wasn’t all that bad.  I feel completely victorious, as you would after winning an exhausting battle, even though the battle is with yourself.

Amanda always calls me the Grinch, jokingly because I am so anti-holidays.  The truth is, I do hate them.  Absolutely.  You would too.  You would hate any time of the year that is as difficult for me as the Christmas holidays, and the spring.  We used to always spend every Christmas together, whether in Victoria, or Vegreville.  Our families would be together, and it was awesome.  Christmas was always one of the few times a year I would be able to see my sister when she lived in Victoria.  I looked forward to Christmas so much.  I can remember our last Christmas break together vividly.  We were going to Joey’s in Sherwood Park for dinner, my mom, my brother, Jen, Abbey and myself.  We were meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner.  I can remember the entire drive to Sherwood Park, I remember the conversations, I remember what everyone was wearing, I remember the weather, I even remember the damn road conditions, I remember bits and pieces of the dinner conversation.  I remember exactly where we sat in Joey’s.  The exact table, and I remember where everyone sat.  What I don’t remember, was really ever saying Happy Holidays to anyone, or saying goodbye to my sister.  I had no idea that would be our last Christmas, I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever have the opportunity to hug my sister.  I had no idea.  It was.  I’ll never go to that Joey’s again.

This is why I hate the holidays.  I’m afraid of them, I want to skip them all together, if not at the very least completely avoid them.  As I mentioned before, I’ve done a bang up job of doing the latter.  But, this year… There is no escaping.  I am here.  I am stuck, I have nowhere to go, I have nothing to distract myself.  I am going to have to finally face the holidays, and it’s already been a struggle.  I can tell since the beginning of December, I’ve just started to become a bit more stand-offish, I’ve been distant, I’ve been tired, not really motivated.  Just feel like you’re in a complete slump.  And it’s not really helping a whole lot at home when we have a tall task of moving going on.  There have been days where I’ve just come home, and I’ve been completely content sitting on the couch with the hockey game on, and doing nothing, saying nothing.  I’m just completely lost in myself, the hockey game is on, but I’m not even watching it.  I want too.  And, I want to help unpack, or organize things, but I just for whatever reason.  I can’t.  A serious case of the holidays blue’s, if you will… I guess.

A few times I’ve drove to work, or to hockey, or to wherever, and I can see Christmas tree’s in the windows of homes, or families building snowmen, or Christmas decorations.  Usually, I’d think that this should make a person happy, excited, or at the least feel good.  For me, it’s as difficult as can be.  Right away I have flashbacks to our Christmas’ together, whether it’s dinner at Joey’s, or we’re all sitting around the tree in Victoria.  Then, I think ahead to what will happen in a week when I am still here, and It’s Christmas, how the hell is that going to go.  Probably not well.  Then, I begin to psyche myself out all over again.

This is why I hate Christmas, Amanda is right.  It’s not because I just don’t like it, it’s because it’s an extremely devastating time of year.  It’s just… hard.

I’ve been thinking for the last month, what the hell am I going to do when the clock strikes 12, and its December 25th.  Now what.  I thought, well, I’ll go somewhere; I’ll go for a drive.  Nope, I can’t do that, because I’ll see it.  I’ll see Christmas, I’ll see families enjoying it, as they damn well should, I just can’t anymore.   I thought, maybe I’ll just hang out, and just write all day, and watch movies, but then I thought nope, I can’t do that cause I’ll put myself right back into that slumping feeling where I am incapable of doing anything else.  I thought, well, I’ll just sleep, I’ll just play xBox, I’ll go skate at the outdoor rink… I have no fucking idea.  I have no idea what I am going to do.  I thought maybe, I’d drive to Vegreville for the day, and just spend the day with my family there… But, nope, that’s far away.  Really, I just tried to avoid Christmas with the family because of 350 Kms?  … This is how far I am starting to go to try and avoid the whole thing.  I don’t want to leave Amanda at home by herself all day on Xmas day, and I certainly don’t think I want the hoopla of Christmas.

I don’t want to take Christmas away from anyone else.  I believe it’s something every family should celebrate if you can, like I said, it was my favorite time of the year. I’ve just lost that now, and I try myself to keep it all to myself without effecting those around me, in my “Grinch” ways.  Like, Amanda for instance.  She loves Christmas, and I want her too.  She want’s to do the gifts, and the decorations, and everything else, which I great but I just don’t.   But, I keep it to myself.

So this year, Christmas for us will be on Boxing day.  We are going to celebrate it, just a day late.  I laughed at that kind of, thought that’s Jen’s way of compromising with me.  Telling me, Kid, you gotta go through this, but I’ll throw you a bone.  Do it on boxing day, not Christmas day.  Have Christmas Day at your own pace.  I don’t know if it’s her compromising with me, or having a laugh, but either way… I am hoping it helps.

On Boxing Day, my mom, niece, and my mom’s boyfriend Alan will come over for dinner, gifts, and… Christmas.  As too will my good friend Geoff, who has been through it all with me from day one of this year never ending grieving process.  I have to admit, In a weird way,  I am kind of looking forward to it.  I am looking forward to Jan 3 more than anything else, and the days to come after.  This entire blog, I shared with my counsellor, told her why Christmas is so difficult.  She mentioned that maybe this is one of the last steps in my grieving process, and the last barricade of an extremely challenging year.   Christmas was always such a special time for me, then I lost that, then I avoided every one of them.  Now this year, I have nowhere to go, but I’ve had all the years in-between to grieve, and to prepare.  I can’t hide from Christmas forever, so maybe this year, is the year I go through it, and I become victorious on Jan 3 when it’s all over, and from there it’s uphill, Christmas is the last thing I need to conquer.

Maybe I am just being too much of an optimist these days… but this year has not really been conducive to my life.

Bring it on holidays, I guess.

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Reindeer Pajamas, Hot Chocolates, Holidays & Hell.

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Happy almost-holidays season everyone!  I know most of you are likely already in the full swing of things by now. Trees, lights, decorations.  All the glitter, and all the rest.  I know at our place there are a few too many snowmen, snow-penguins, snow-bears, snow-mooses…  And, pretty well every other morphed Christmas animal you can possibly think of.

While, I do enjoy Christmas.  Holidays are just never the same as they once were for me.  Especially Christmas. It’s typically an emotionally enduring time of the year.  As it is Christmas. It’s a special time of the year. But, ever since I’ve lost my sister, It’s never quite been the same. It’s hard. Actually, most holidays are just different now.  My birthday & Christmas are often the toughest.  And, that usually results in me being referred to as “the grinch” by my girlfriend.  But, it’s not that I hate the holidays, I most certainly do not.  But, maybe as some others can understand after your life changes drastically as a result of losing someone close… And, as I have mentioned before.  Nothing is ever again the same, and nothing is again as it easy as it once was.  Ever.  

Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year. I longed for it every day as soon it turned December 26th – I couldn’t wait for the next Christmas Day.  I think up until I was 15 or so.  My average of sleep on christmas eve was likely 3 hours. I could never sleep Christmas Eve.  Just way too excited.  Albeit, I was a kid.  A lot of it was, I just couldn’t wait to open up gifts, and get spoiled by my parents, grandparents and rest of my family.  Then, as I grew up, it became less about the gifts (while I still thoroughly enjoyed them, and still do now!) But, it became more about spending time with those close too me, that I may otherwise not be able to see as often as I would like.  As my sister lived in Victoria, we only were able to get together a few times a year.  Which… still haunts me today.

Anyway.  Christmas was always a special time because I got to spend it with Jen, my parents, my brother, and my grandparents.  I can remember just waking up in the morning, and being so excited to just hang out, throw gifts around and watch everyone else just enjoy being together.  This is exactly what Christmas is about. Family, laughing, and being in the company of those whom matter the most.  And, as you grow up, you realize this.  And I think that’s part of why Christmas now is a little bit more difficult. We are missing one.   I think too,  I had just really gotten myself to the point of truly realizing what Christmas is about, and then suddenly we were without Jen.  While, every day is difficult after a tragedy.  Some days are worse than others.  But, holidays.  They’re just never the same. Again.  As much as you try and fake it, make some kind of shitty attempt to place normalcy into your days, and into your Christmas festivities… It doesn’t matter.  It all just amounts to trying too hard in hoping to be able to fake it, get through, and continue on in our own world of denial.  Ultimately… Just making the days and the season all the more difficult.  Then, in turn, you just kind of float through the days.   Doing your best to completely avoid the traditions that make Christmas.  All the while, just feeling completely empty and emotionless. Raw.

Now, I should never complain, because my holidays seasons the last few years have been quite extravagant, and I have been extremely fortunate and lucky to have spent the last 2 in Hawaii.  And, while as great as Hawaii is, and I do get to go with some people that do mean the world too me.  The last couple Christmas that I have been in Hawaii, I have not been with my family.  Which is sometimes difficult because I know that holidays for them are never quite the same, either. So you want to be together to try and help them cope…But, I think, why I have enjoyed going to Hawaii so much the last few years, is not just because it’s Hawaii.  But, because it’s almost like… It’s… It’s not real.  It’s not Christmas.  Even though it may be December 25th… It’s +28, people are in shorts, the beach, the ocean, everything that goes with Hawaii.  It’s not what I have been accustomed too.  It’s not tradition. And, tradition is easier to avoid. And, the other part that has made the past few I think… manageable, maybe, is I haven’t been with my family.  I’ve been with people that Christmas to them is as normal as it should be. As much as I try, and I think my family does as well to instill normalcy into our lives, like I said, we sometimes just try too hard and make it worse.  So, the last few, while I have thought about Jen a tonne.  It’s never really been talked about, or apart of the “Christmas Celebration” except in my own head, I guess.  Because, I have been by myself, and with my girlfriends family.  But, Christmas has been manageable, ultimately, because, I have ran away from what has made it so difficult in the past.

But, I know that I can’t go on like this forever, because, it is the holidays, and at some point I need to enjoy them as much as I once did, or, at the very least, make some sort of attempt to do so. While I also need to stop running away from the problem.   And, I think this year I am going to have an opportunity to do so.  While, in stages.  I think what is different this year, and is going to allow me to possibly cope with this season is, I have come to terms with my own mental illness, and I think I have maybe, finally accepted that Jen is gone.  And, she is never coming back…..As hard as that is to admit.  It’s reality. And, I think, I have finally realized that.  Despite how hard I sometimes try to bring her back.

She isn’t. 

Also, on Christmas day, this year;  I will be at home, in Calgary.  While, away from my family still, and likely just myself at home.  I will see again what Christmas is, and I think being right-square in the middle of the lights, the snow, just that aura of Christmas, that you don’t find in Maui.   I think that is going to be Step 1 of coping, and attempting normalcy these holidays.  Step 2. I leave to Hawaii ( as per usual ) on Jan. 1. However, different this year is my mom, my grandma, grandpa, brother and my niece Abbey (Jen’s daughter) will all be there.   Our family will finally be back together for Christmas.  Missing Jen but, I know that she will be there.   I get to spend the holidays with my family again…  And, in an environment to me, that just isn’t “holiday real”  – Just as I like, and for now, need. But, we are all going to be there together.  Going through it.  Together.

December through January isn’t the same for anyone in my family anymore.  And, instead of running away from the process, we will finally be able to go at it in unison once again.  Which, I am thoroughly excited for.  It’s still going to be different, and always will be.  And, maybe I am still partially running away from this by going to Maui. But, I am entirely fine with that.  So, in stages I hope to be able to enjoy a Christmas holiday season as close to normal as I possibly ever can.  Just without the tree, pajama pants, hot chocolates and christmas themed wrapped gifts.  I am not ready for that yet.

I know it will never be the same as it was.  No matter how hard I try.  I am just excited to be able to do it together, with my mom, my grandparents, Brody & Abbey.  Our way of coping with Christmas… Is too run away from it, but I am happy that we have decided to finally do this together.

Some people I am sure probably don’t, and won’t understand why we continue to run away during the holidays.  Some argue it’s the best time to be in Alberta.  Sure.  But, like I said… It’s different for us.  Remember in my last blog, or a few blogs back I mentioned the feeling I had driving to my sister’s funeral in Victoria.  I’d just expected the entire world to stop.  And, when I drove to the church, and saw people getting their mail, walking their dogs, having coffee and laughing.  It fucking pissed me off.  I just couldn’t believe people were getting on with their lives.   My world has just halted, instantly.  And, I expected everyone elses did too.  How could they continue?  But, really, of course people are going to get on with their lives.  It didn’t happen to them, but still, I couldn’t believe it.  That’s exactly how Christmas is for me now.  We used to always gather at the decorated Christmas tree in the living room, while in our pajamas, enjoying a coffee, hot chocolate,  or an orange juice…Whatever it was.  We’d sit there in our pajamas and throw gifts to each other, celebrate and embrace. We did Christmas. We did it right.  All of us.  Now… I just can’t do it. I can’t do tradition.  During Christmas I always get that same feeling I had en route to Jen’s funeral.  I, for some reason, just can’t imagine people doing what we used too, doing what you’re supposed to do.  I can’t fathom it.  And, I don’t want to see it.  Just like I didn’t want too see that man walking his dog that morning.  It’s doesn’t seem real.  It’s hard.  So, I leave so I can avoid it. Christmas is different.

That said, I am certainly not the grinch, as some of you might conclude after reading this.  I still enjoy the holidays. And, I wish nothing but the best too everyone else during them.  Actually, I wish more than that.  I hope that you thoroughly enjoy that time around the tree tossing gifts to one another. Having that mocha or hot chocolate with your brother and/or sister in your pajama pants decorated with reindeer and Santa’s. Please enjoy this moment.  This is what it is about.  Enjoy it the most. It may, now seem trivial, and “just part of it”. But, trust me.  It isn’t.  It’s more than that.  Because, you never know if you will be able to have this special opportunity again.  So, please.  Enjoy Christmas. Be grateful, and understand what it truly is about.  Family.  Not the cash that you get. Not the toys.  It’s your family.  And it’s that one really special time of the year.  So, while, I run away to the tropics to avoid tradition.  I urge all of you to run to the tree, with your brothers and sisters, Even if you see them every single day, and scrap for the majority of those days. Please, for me, soak it all in. Enjoy Christmas. Because, this is what I miss the most, and I will never get back. Enjoy one for me. 

– Happy Holidays too all of my readers!