In the danger zone - reflecting on what used to be.

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Reflecting back on what used to be is difficult because it brings too much sadness, but I'm finding it a hard habit to break especially with the holidays. This is the first year that my mom with ALZ and I have not gone holiday shopping, the first year we will not be at mom & dad's house to celebrate and the first year without a gift exchange. Even though mom is still here, these traditions are gone. She doesn't show signs of knowing any difference, but it is breaking my heart. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier if she were gone. Mourning the loss of so much while the person is physically still present is a struggle. I walk around the mall and all I see are mothers & daughters together while I am alone. I miss her voice, I miss the look of love in her eyes, and I miss the emotional connection.
Instead, what is offered is a meal at 5:30 on Christmas day at my sister's house. I can barely tolerate her and only put up with her to keep peace in the family. She has been married to a verbally and emotionally abusive man for 25 years. She has adult children who rarely look up from their cell phones, and never take any effort to help with setting the table or cleaning dishes.
My mom's best friend died 3 months ago and she was like an Aunt to me. The warmth of family members I had as a kid is mostly gone. To move from that to having to spend time with relatives who are argumentative and distant makes me nauseus. I guess I should be happy for what I did have for so many years and focus on making new routines or volunteering. Any comments on someone going through similar? Suggestions? Thanks for reading and bless you during this holiday season.

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Same here Cwillie.. I will be alone at Christmas this year. I also get lots of "are you ready for Christmas?".. I just answer yes.. which is true.. lol. That way I avoid the pity look. ;)

Enjoy your day though.. try to do something that you enjoy and pamper yourself a bit.

((hugs))
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I've been dreading christmas this year, but as the day gets closer I'm feeling less stressed about it. I think a lot of it is the worry about not meeting people's expectations...it seems as though every random stranger asks about your plans and if you are "ready", replying that i have no plans and will be alone through the holiday causes pitying looks and makes me want to hide!
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Stop celebrating any Holidays years ago, and don't really miss any of them. They really are just another day on the calendar. It feels good to not watch holiday specials, and chuckle, a little, when the local news stations try to outdo each other for feel good holiday stories

As for shopping, Lol, sit back and watch all those that feel the need to have the latest, toy, tv, etc, only to repeat when the holiday rolls around again.

The best time for the holidays, is when they are over.
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Journaling is literally saving my life. I know how you feel although my situation is different from yours. I think every Christmas I miss my grandparents and the way my parents used to be.
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One consistency of life is change, which is not always easy, but it is inevitable.
I was thankful for the end of school performances in the winter when my kids got older, I was thankful when they and my grands started preferring money to wrapped gifts. It is so much easier. I do not have the kind of mother I wanted to shop with. As the kids grew up and started their own families they developed their own ways. I am perfectly happy on my own at Christmas, with a fire in the fireplace, a few lights and candles on and a special coffee and chocolate treat and music. My dd often invites me to join them and that is fun for a few hours. One son lives too far away and the other one and his wife are very tied up with her parents. So be it. Sig other has been visiting his kids and grands as they used to have a marathon get together,- but that is kind of falling apart too as each family develops their own ways. We have made New Year's our time. Not sure how this year will pan out. I will go with the flow.
Good luck to all of you who are experiencing losses and changes. Make some thing new that is good for you.
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This is the first Christmas without my father. I miss him terribly. Mom seems uninterested in Christmas, and surprised by the presence of the tree every time she sees it. Mom still has some moments when she is conversational and can recall a few things, but her doctor found 25 spots in her lungs and doesn't recommend further testing because it would be so invasive. I feel the clock ticking. I plan to do all the things that mean tradition this year. Bake her cookies, use the china, be extravagant gift givers, sing the carols... the works. And, I am scared I will be crushed if it is meaningless to her. I am trying to set my expectations low, and focus on it being for my own kids, but my heart wants it so much to be a meaningful connection to my mom. Thank you for the post and each who shared their heart here.
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MaryLou: Big SHOUT OUTS to your mother!! She was a saint of a woman! Wow!!!
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My AMAZING mom had 8 children, 16 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. She was a Wonderful cook and baker! As kids, she was the mom everyone looked forward to for Christmas cookies and cakes. And yes she was That Fruitcake Lady! She may forget who is who (way too many to remember, plus majority are no shows in her life) but she remembers and misses what she used to make. She'll tell me that she fell asleep counting the things she used to make...menudo, tamales, cookies, cakes, pinto beans, roasted turkey, ham, fruit salad and the this is longer. With just mom, dad and me I try but I don't do the ethnic dishes Mom's recipes are gone, because they were by memory!
So now we do what we can, and hope that SOMEONE will show up. Just a few decorations and telling mom, why I'm not putting up more. But holidays are really just another day. Mom will be asking why her regular shows aren't on TV. ;)
Some great suggestions here, by others! No need to have a holiday meal with rude relatives (my nieces would be on their cells texting each other and they were across the room from each other!) Savor the time and memories you have left with your mom and hubby! Happy Holidays!
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GingerMay: You're welcome.
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I just wanted to say "thanks" to those who read this and replied. Your advice and wisdom help more than I can say. My friends just cannot understand. I am married to my darling husband of 20 years who is fighting cancer. Double whammy for me. Sending blessings to you dear friends on this forum.
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