Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September & the Holiday Season.

September is a rough month for me. There are so many significant September dates that coorespond to sad/bad memories that I find it hard to enjoy this time of year.

When I was 7 years old my dad received a work transfer. We were to move 8 hours south of our current home. I was headed into the second grade and couldn't be more excited. My mom moved my siblings and I early so I could start school on time. My dad stayed behind. September of 1988, three weeks after our move, my dad was killed in a work related accident. We moved in with my grandparents and I believe I was out of school for around a month while my mom made arrangements for us. Starting school every year from then has resurfaced memories of that time.

My mom did the best she could to make Thanksgiving & Christmas that year a happy one. My sisters and I tried to continue the tradition of a Christmas Eve family program that my dad had done with us. It just wasn't the same.

I was married on September 13, 2003. It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. The morning of my wedding was ruined when I learned of some very wrong things that had gone on the night before at the so called bachelor party. My 'To Be' showed up at the wedding breakfast hung over.

My wedding day was full of fake smiles. Why did I go through with the wedding after learning what he had done? I've asked myself that a million times. I don't know. I was young, naive, stupid, scared, intimidated, etc. My feeling now is that experiences are meant to happen and that was an experience that had to happen in order for me to grow into who I am today.

A few years later, September 27- I was about to leave for work when my now ex husband announced that he planned to stay somewhere else for a couple days. He said he wanted time to himself. I came home from work that evening to find not just a duffle bag of clothing gone, but the TV, computer, his dresser, and ALL of his things gone including every article of clothing in his closet. Enough for not only a couple of days but a lifetime.

It was three weeks before he would answer any of my phone calls or contact me. I spent that time scared and alone with only my cat and dog to comfort me. The nights were very long. I did not tell my friends or family that I was alone in the house and had no idea where my husband was. It was a very dark time.

Thanksgiving that year was spent with my family. By then I had mustered the courage to tell my immediate family about the separation but my extended family didn't realize how much pain they caused me by asking why my husband wasn't at the Thanksgiving dinner. Even at that time I did not come clean, I was humiliated and made excuses for him.

December 23- We filed for divorce at the courts. We even drove there together. It was surreal. I went to my mom's that night for my sisters birthday and spent the remainder of Christmas with them. My family did their best to provide a nice christmas for me. I slept on the floor christmas eve with my dog and cat at my feet. The next morning I cried when I saw my mom had made me a stocking last minute.

December 27- My mom, sisters, grandpa, and uncles went back to my house, packed my things and took it all to a storage unit. I moved in with a friend and my mom took in my dog and cat.

At this point, the emotional trauma was intense. I had periods of mental breakdown where I felt no will to continue with my life.

For a long time, September into the holiday season has signified grief and pain for me. However, I see a change in the tides. I now look forward to the start of school with anxiousness and I excitedly begin to decorate for the holidays.

I still miss my dad and feel pain from my divorce, but I can see that I am stronger now because of those experiences. I have become more determined, more loving, and more honest with myself. I really believe that I had to hit rock bottom before I could truly appreciate my life.