I have been posting on how isolation affects me during the holidays and others with MCS and chronic illness but I haven’t mentioned how it affects those closest to us, our families.
All my life we had Christmas at the home of my mother and father. When my sister and I grew up and got married (within four months of each other) Christmas Day was still spent with my parents. My husband, daughters and I always spent Christmas Eve with my husband’s family and Christmas Day with mom and dad, often going back over to his parents’ home for dessert later in the evening.
Suddenly I am sick and everything bothers me including my parents’ home. Suddenly every major event has to be held at my home. Everyone suits up (tyvek) or wears new clothes that have been purchased for them to wear and laundered here so that they don’t smell like the stores they came from. Is it fair to my mother and father that I cannot come into their home and see their Christmas tree and spy the presents that gently lay below it? Is it fair that my daughters no longer get to participate in that tradition as well. My grandchildren have never had the experience of sitting on the warm and carpeted living room floor of their great grandparents’ home and open presents or gather in my mother’s homey kitchen for a wonderful dinner that she has so generously prepared? No it isn’t fair to them.
When we talk of our isolation we need to remember how this isolation has not only affected our lives deeply but forever changed how family traditions are observed. My mother and father and family come here without grumbling. They suit up if necessary without complaint. They step into the cold garage and exchange their clothes for those that have been especially prepared for them to wear. They sit on my wicker or metal chairs or the cold tile floor to open presents as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
So to my family, I am deeply grateful that I have you in my life. I am grateful that you have never questioned this illness of mine, the crazy way I have to live and the crazy way I need to do the things I do. You are the most amazing family any one person could hope to have. Thank you, I love you and Merry Christmas to them and to all my followers and fellow sufferers.
This picture of my sister and I (I am the brunette) is of us with our dolls in our arms and at our feet suitcases filled with clothes that my mother and grandmother made for them. It is one of the few that I have found and had scanned for me and I treasure this picture.