The holidays have always been hard for me. My mother got kicked out of the house when she got knocked up… but her relationship with her parents had been strained for a long time. Generally I was handed over to them for weekend visits with as little interaction as possible, but everyone gets together for the holidays. So there we’d be. Mom fighting with me grandmother and me running between them, trying to keep their attention on me instead of each other.
Later my father took custody of me and… it was even worse. Everything was hugely and drastically different in his family. I can tell you honestly that I had a better life with them, with my father and his family but I’d lost everything I knew. Every time the holidays rolled around all I could think of was everything I’d lost – my mother, my siblings, my mother’s family. Everything I’d known was gone and it was impossible for my child self to deal with that loss.
When I was 17, my mother committed suicide at Christmas.
This did not help things.
As an adult, I can honestly say things are getting better. This is the best holiday season I’ve ever had. And last year was better than the year before it. It used to be I’d start drinking myself into oblivion the day before Christmas with the sole purpose of sleeping through as much of it as possible. When the rest of the world was opening presents, I was crawling across the floor to get to what was left of the wine so I could go back to sleep. It was not a good time in my life. It’s so much better now… But it’s still hard.