Saturday, December 24, 2005

For Lonely Folks Only...

...the rest of you please go back to your hugs and egg nog. Laugh and sing for me.

I thought I was okay. In fact, I don't think I even really thought about whether I would be okay. I wondered how it would affect the kids, and I made arrangements for them to be with Garth's family, because they would need that connection. I planned it out so that I would be there Christmas morning (and I will), for their sake; they need a parent there. As usual, I just accepted that I am the organist, so I am here for Christmas Eve. As we moved into the Christmas season, I went to the Co-op Christmas party and laughed and smiled on Garth's behalf. I sang for the seniors at Moose Mountain Lodge. I went to the school Christmas Concert, both afternoon and evening. I made sure the kids got ready for their time with the relatives, and I drove them to the city. And I looked forward to my quiet time, to unwind from all that.

By this morning, I still had quite a bit to do, but at a slower pace, and I did some blogging. Garth phoned from Nepal, and I laughed with him, enjoying his stories and his voice and the humour of his sudden realization that he hadn't bought presents for anyone. Christmas over there is an opportunity for a couple of stores to sell things to a few tourists, and maybe a theme for that week's party at the nightclub, but not a big deal.

After lunch, back at the blogging, I sensed other blogs going quiet around me, as others turned to their families and their feasts. Feeling a teensy bit pathetic, I tore myself away and walked to the church to practise the hymns and prelude music for this evening. I tried to steer myself to happy Christmas songs, but the haunting songs of Advent drew me. When I finished, I walked downtown for one more check on the mailbox.

I turned the corner, at around 5 p.m., and saw Main Street stretched out before me. There was one truck in front of a house near me, but not a single vehicle south of the cenotaph; nothing to block the view of a tranquil corner of the sunset stretching across the southern sky.

The mailbox was empty, too.

I was already sobbing before I reached the post office, and I gasped and sniffled all the way home, half of me longing that someone would rush out of a quiet house to comfort me, and half of me ashamed of my weakness and folly, desperate to reach the privacy that waited behind my door.

I pulled myself together, had a shower, and heard Mom's voice on the answering machine as I came out: "I guess you're out somewhere; we've decided not to come to the service this evening, so we won't see you . . . so, Merry Christmas, and we'll see you . . . Monday!"

Mom's place is where I should be tonight and tomorrow. But the kids need me.

I have done everything I could for everyone else. Now I am doing something just for me. I won't even try to make a happy little greeting for you here. Instead I will give you the song that is running in my heart, the song I wanted to record for you about a week ago, for Blue Christmas, but didn't have time, so all you get are the words, a little late.

The words of the first verse belong to Joseph; of the second, to one of the wise men; and of the third, to me.

One Bright Star
© 2004 Laura Herman

There he lies, asleep in a manger.
Mary rests at last in my arms.
In this dark, lonely place,
how can I keep them safe?
How can I, all alone?

One bright star
shining softly,
and the silence is tender with love.
Through the shimmer
of my teardrops,
one bright star
still softly shines.

As we search, his star goes before us,
but my own hopes dwindle behind.
All the wisdom I gained--
soon the whole world will change.
Do I dare
journey on?

One bright star
shining softly,
and the silence is tender with love.
Through the shimmer
of my teardrops,
one bright star
still softly shines.

Once again the Christ-child is coming.
All the world seems merry, and bright,
but I wander apart,
lift my eyes to the stars,
and there's one . . .
there is one . . .

one bright star
shining softly,
and the silence is tender with love.
Through the shimmer
of my teardrops,
one bright star
still softly shines.

5 comments:

madcapmum said...

I'm reading, Laura. I'm alienated from my family this year, more than ever, and it's a raw, angry hole. God be with you tonight, and bless you now and always.

Everything scatters seed. The harvest will be sweeter than the sowing.

You've been a good friend to me, and I feel close to you because I know we look out at similar landscapes on the prairie, and love it despite the loneliness of it all. I wish we were sharing a cup of tea beside a woodstove tonight.

H. Stallard said...

Hey Girls, is there room for a fat cop to share a cup of tea? This is the first year ever that all of my family hasn't been together either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. While not alienated we just couldn't get everything to click this time and it just doesn't feel right.

Laura...I would like your permission to link your blog to mine.

http://hstallard.blogspot.com/

Laura said...

By all means, Harold (er, Howard... I still haven't figured that one out), your link is welcome. As long as the gremlins don't follow it!

And pull up a chair, I'll put the kettle on again.

Deb said...

I'm sorry I am a bit late in reading this, and responding. Your loneliness echoes and resonates throughout this post, and I can somehow relate. This is my first Christmas without my mom. And the husband and I somehow got into a bit of a disagreement on Christmas eve. We're okay now, but does the pain ever go away?

Me, you, and Madcap by a woodstove sharing a cup of tea. That would be good.

Laura said...

Yes, Deb, that would be good indeed.

Does it go away? I don't know. I am in the strange position of being pretty nigh middle-aged without ever having lost anyone close to me. Perhaps that's part of the reason it's so hard to go through Christmas without Garth here.

At least there is this: I have finally felt what it's like to find Christmas lonely and difficult. I thought I could be empathetic, but oh, it's just not the same until you've been there.