Catch Up Monday: How Isolation Affects Others – revisited

This was first posted last year on December 23, just days before Christmas.  Recently I had a conversation with my mother.  She was saying how she missed having us come to her home for Christmas, seeing the presents under her tree, and sitting down to Christmas dinner at her table.  It breaks my heart that we have had to “change” the rules of how the holidays are dealt with and how they are spent.  It breaks my heart that my mom no longer has us at her home.

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 you all to all my followers and fellow sufferers.

My sister and I on Christmas Day.
My sister and I on Christmas Day.

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.  My doll is stored away and one day my granddaughters will get to see her and her pretty clothes.

So next time you grumble about how your holiday has been ruined, take a moment to reflect on how it as also affected your loved ones.  I will be forever grateful to have the support from my family especially at the holidays when “new traditions” have to replace all those that are so familiar to us.

Merry Christmas to you all.  During the next week while my family and I are celebrating Christmas, I will be re-posting some of my older posts.  To make them easier to find later, I will label them all as Catch Up Mondays.

Also, Allergic to Life will continue to be discounted until the New Year.  I have been trying to get the e-book discounted for those that cannot tolerate ink.  It looks like this may not happen before Christmas.

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12 responses to “Catch Up Monday: How Isolation Affects Others – revisited

  1. Kathryn, I love your Catch Up Mondays. I am also very appreciative of your family for being as understanding and loving as they obviously are to you during the time you need it most. I am grateful because you are also very special to me. #FriendsFromAcrossTheWorld

    • Thank you for your kind words Nonnie. I have had so many new followers to my blog and doing this gives everyone a little of what has happened over the past year and refreshes and sometimes adds new insight to those who read these the first go round.

  2. Thank you for posting this. We thought we had my mom’s house almost as safe as mine but with the holidays and wrapping paper and ornaments and … I am finding it difficult to be in her house. My mom keeps asking what are we going to do for Christmas since it is always at her house and I tell her the only thing I can — we will take Christmas Day moment to moment with my exposures just as we do every other day. I am glad you have a loving and supportive family. I cannot fathom those that have MCS or EI or… and do not have anyone to support them… Peace and Happy Holidays. 😀

    • I have used kraft paper before for wrapping to avoid all the print of traditional Christmas wrap. We have done pretty well having it here except the year that I had a fire in my oven Christmas eve. I know I have posted about it before. Maybe I can find the post and put it up again.

      I know those with EI or MCS, that haven’t had the awesome support I have had with my family and some of my friends. It breaks my heart that families and friends will choose their fragrances, their unsafe practices, etc. over what a friend or loved one truly needs. All we can do is continue to bring awareness in hopes that eventually this will be taken as seriously as someone who needs a wheelchair to get around or insulin and no sugar to survive.

  3. Those of us with supportive families are very lucky. MCS is not an individual illness, it affects the entire household and extends to family and friends.

  4. I posted my comment before I wished you a very Merry Christmas.

  5. Thank you for sharing; thank you for helping me understand your world more

  6. MERRY CHRISTMAS– TO YOU KATHRYN & YOUR FAMILY!!!!

  7. What a lovely post. Those who truly love and care about you will accommodate your sensitivities.
    Merry Happy Holidays to you!

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