That Christmas was one I will remember forever. Santa didn’t leave anything under my tree. We didn’t sing carols with our loved ones. I didn’t enjoy the wonderful Christmas feast before me, and there was no figgy pudding. I wasn’t alone, but I felt like I was. I felt an overwhelming darkness seeping into my skin. My own hell was warm enough to melt the freshly fallen snow. I tried to be festive. I put on my mask, the one with the plastic smile. I oozed fake joy and happiness, it filled the room. I was burning on the inside, but I stayed cool as ice. My thoughts held my tongue still.
Not a single damning word left my lips until I felt safe. Until I was somewhere I knew I wouldn’t be judged. With the car pulled over so I could let my words flow free, on the side of the road. I could have been in a room with ten thousand people and I would have been alone. I cried out in pain as my tears broke free. I thanked him for being there, for holding me, for letting my irrationalities take hold of both of us momentarily. He knew me well. If he hadn’t been there, if he hadn’t understood me, I’d have been a broken mess.
Holidays never sat well with me. I never understood them, and they never understood me. I had contemplated many a time about my departure. That Christmas was no different. He knew. I was the type that felt like I had nothing to live for, that wanted to cut out early. He knew that that day was worse than every other. He held me, reassured me it was ok. It turned out I was going to be after all. So he held me and I slept. Soundly, safely.
Christmas was over and I was still there. I had made it through the darkness in my head. Safe and sound. My own Christmas miracle perhaps. My phone rang and I answered it. My world cracked. In the midst of my own depression I forgot about my mother. I thought she was ok, she seemed fine three days before. But I suppose I seemed fine to her as well. The disbelief of the news dropped me to the floor. Drowning in my own tears, I called out for her. She was gone. Those same demons poking fun of me the day before had been poking fun at my mother as well. I should have known. We were more alike than I knew. Similar in feelings, and thoughts. My demons had been beaten, but that day she lost her battle.
She lost and I lost, we all lost to her demons. I couldn’t save her, I couldn’t even save me. It hurt. It still hurts. Pieces of me died with her. They lie beside her, in her box made out of wood. I oft wonder if they have rotted away as she does. I try and hold on to her smile in my heart. Sometimes it’s hard. Other times I think she reminds me. There are many things I have forgotten in my few years that I wish I could have held onto longer. The good memories are scarce. But the memory of that Christmas is strong. It is bittersweet. I won and lost all at once. Part of me died that day, but the rest lives on. She lives on, metaphorically. Forever is such a long time, and I still have so many years left to go, but I will never forget. I will never forget those feelings, the demons, the fight. The win, the loss, the life I still have.
That Christmas was the one I will remember forever. I must never forget…
Dedicated to my mother whose demons proved to be too much for her. She lives in my heart, and I miss her.