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The Dark Side of Holidays

by SimplyD (writer), San Diego, November 16, 2011

Credit: Denise Garratt
Things are not always as they seem. Is this a happy or sad holiday picture?

One Family's Pleasure is Another Family's Pain

The holidays paint a picture of joy and happiness for many. Love, laughter, family and friends. For others, it’s a time of sadness and depression. It’s not the picture many of us want to envision, but the reality is that an equally dark picture does exist. As a child, I experienced both.


My Grandmother, our matriarch, died when I was nine and it sent my family spiraling down a world of depression and hoarding. The darkness crept in before her funeral. Disagreements over logistics divided our family for decades – the last thing my grandmother would have wanted. Her life was dedicated to bringing family together, not tearing them apart.


The first Christmas after her death was the first time there would be no tree, tamales or festivities with family. Even though I was barely ten, I could understand a mourning period. It felt normal not to celebrate the holidays that year. The following years were anything but normal. My dad drank more heavily, my aunt and uncle fought, and there were no more celebrations. The hoarding and depression grew worse. We did exchange gifts among our immediate family and for a few years my aunt would bring out a nativity set. I loved it, not for religious reasons, but because we did something together for the holiday. It was a glimmer of normalcy.


After my grandmother died, we never sat together again as a family. On the years that a turkey or holiday dinner was cooked, it was always marked by a huge argument. What I wouldn’t have given for a peaceful dinner. The funny thing is that I knew deep down that my family wanted the same thing; they just didn’t seem to know how to make it happen. We all loved each other; it was just a very dark dysfunctional love.


For every “Happy Holiday” greeting I smile and give, there is a genuine sentiment behind it. Whatever the celebration and belief may be, I hope it truly is happy. I hold a very special place in my heart for those that experience a painful holiday season. Whether by donation, invitation, or action I hope to offer a moment of happiness. When you wish someone a happy holiday this season, consider for a moment that your smile and caring may be the happiest moment they will experience. In that spirit, be genuine and if possible, find a way to make someone’s day a little brighter.

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About the Writer

SimplyD is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on The Dark Side of Holidays

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By D. Ware on November 16, 2011 at 07:00 am

Thank you for sharing something so personal. You writing is fluid and even. I feel like we had a one-on-one discussion. Well done.

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By SimplyD on November 16, 2011 at 09:54 am

Thank you D. Ware. I've always hoped that I could find a way to help others by sharing my journey.

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By SimplyD on November 16, 2011 at 11:44 am

Love Heals - Thank you for the kind words, and most of all, thank you for giving of yourself to help others. ;)

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By Theresa H Hall on November 16, 2011 at 02:42 pm

Make this Christmas Season count. Release the past and move into your future. Heal and be happy. So very touching.

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By LisaSmith on June 15, 2012 at 05:21 am

I totally appreciate with the advices that has been given in this post about holidays. Thanks for sharing it. I am sure it will help lot of peoples. cheap hotels in Ibiza

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