What does December/Winter mean to you?
This is a really hard post for me to write. December means painful memories and flashbacks full of grief for me. When I was 4 years old my little world came crashing down around me. My sense of safety, of consistency, of stability was all destroyed when my father fought his last physical fight with my mother, packed up his possessions and left us. He walked away from my mother and abandoned me and my sister.
I didn’t understand what had I done? Was it something I said? How could I make him come back? It must have been because I wasn’t well behaved, because I talked too much, because I annoyed him, because I wasn’t the perfect child.
My memories of the separation are patchy, but the emotions attached to them are real, and are important; really important. I was scared that my mother would leave me next or my sister. I turned from an out-going child to a needy and serious little girl within days. I carried a furrow on my brow and a lump in my throat, and somehow, Christmas just didn’t seem all that exciting anymore.
As the years went by my father compensated for his lack of emotional attachment to me and the non-existent yet much needed expressions of love with sensational, expensive gifts. It was as if he was showing up my mother who just about managed to put food on the Christmas dinner table, and keep us excited about getting a token from Santa. He picked us up on Christmas morning and showered us with gifts our mother dreamed of giving us, but couldn’t because my father lied and cheated his way out of paying child support.
I knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t articulate my emotions the way I can now. I should never have been used as the pawn in my parent’s war. It was not the way a child should have been treated. It affected me deeply and Christmas was always a constant yearly reminder of how other happy families and tight nuclear formulation contrasted sharply with my broken home where sadness reigned and fear propagated like rabbits.
So December means difficult emotions for me. Sorry no Christmas cheer is this post, but I thought that writing a bit about my story might give you some insight into what went on for me so you can see that these things can be processed and that there are ways to overcome painful memories.