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December 25, 2011
Posted at 12:00 am
 

Spare a Thought, if You Will...

When you celebrate with your families of this, commerce's last gasp for the year. Spare a thought, if you will for those of us whose families are gone or have abandoned us.

I am a currently a resident in a small nursing home, the location doesn't matter, there's at least one in your community, too. My reason for still being here after five years doesn't matter either, just that they are physical, not psychological. Suffice it to say, right now, I have nowhere else to go. My father died of complications from diabetes in 1999. My mother is in a similar facility to this, 500 miles from here, but she remembers nothing, including her three sons and

two grandchildren, one of them mine. My brothers have their own families and complications, but near my mother. My son lives 500 miles away from here and 250 miles from his grandmother. He's beginning his own life and while we still speak from time to time, my time here has put more than a physical distance between us.

My first reminder that Christmas was not for me, nor I for it, was the year my son was one year old. My son was born 1000 miles away from both sets of grandparents, but my ex-wife's family flew us in for his first Christmas. I had just gotten a new job and money was incredibly hard to come by. So I was spending every dime supporting my wife and son. That was fine, everyone assured me, they didn't expect anything from us, our presence, so long as we were accompanied by their first grandson, was sufficient. They gave me nothing, which I expected, because they paid to fly us back to their home. My wife and son made out so well that I had to fly back home for work a week early, they flew back a week later with 3 extra suitcases filled with presents for them and nothing at all for me. My own parents, not having the wherewithal to fly us in, came down to visit when my son was born and help us out then. My parents also returned to at the end of my "exile" to help us travel, again for a job, back to my ex's home town.

The Christmas when my son was one, we were living three doors down from my in-laws, after having moved out of their basement two months before. Money was again tight and despite my ex-wife having baby-sitting family living across the street, she refused to go back to work. A blizzard struck on December 23, putting the kibosh on our plans to see my parents that year, they shipped us my son's gifts after the holidays. So we wind up at her parent's place across the street.

The scene was beautiful, the tree straight out of Currier and Ives, the table and house bursting with food and relatives, respectively. And every distant cousin or hanger on received a gift that day.

All except me.

My bitterness toward this most crass of commercial holidays began that day and has continued to this. If I had the capability today, I'd drink myself into oblivion and not wake up until January 3. As it sits, I'll take as much pain meds as they will allow me and sleep. And who knows, maybe I won't wake back up...

Merry Christmas.