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.
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.