The Bittersweet Season Begins Again

I just opened my admin panel to make a quick post and found this notification from WordPress waiting for me:

Happy Anniversary! You registered on 2 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

I can hardly believe all of the unexpected and heartbreaking events that have taken place in the past two years, but through it all, I have My Sweetheart and I feel like our love grows more and more every day. Two years ago I wouldn’t have expected to be saying that now. Maybe that’s just proof that everything really does happen for a reason. {sad smile}

Anyway… I am here to make a quick post about the upcoming holiday season, which is always so difficult for me. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that I lost my grandparents a year apart at this time of year over a decade ago and have seen very little of my natural family since then. My Sweetheart is known to say that when we grow up, our family becomes more about the people we choose to have in our lives. I agree with that philosophy more and more, but in the past year (or two) the list of those we call family is shorter and shorter. Last year we lost two members of our closest family, our friend Pam and our Diggity Dog, exactly one month apart, and those wounds are still very fresh today. Almost everyone else we have come to know and love and trust as family have pruned themselves from our chosen family tree by one form or another of deceit or devious behavior. With so few friends to call on this year, my favorite aspect of the holidays is going to be a bit tricky.

THAT is what I was going to post about… My favorite thing about the holiday season is cooking for the people I love. Every year, My Sweetheart and I put out an open invitation to everyone we know to join us for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. Instead, we have decided that we aren’t even going to celebrate on the same day as the rest of the country. This year, we will be celebrating one day early. We lost our Diggity Dog on the day before Thanksgiving last year, so we are going to celebrate that little dog and everything else for which we are thankful on the anniversary of his passing. (Yes, I know that the date won’t be the same, but it’s the significance of the *day* that means something to us.)

And, just because we aren’t going to expect to feed a family the size of an army, don’t think I won’t be cooking up a feast. I’m already looking for a couple of new recipes to include in this year’s menu on I’ve been a member of the site since it was called RecipeZaar.

RecipeZaar founding member banner

My username there is “LoveToCookHateToClean,” so if you have a recipe to help brighten our season a little bit, let me know in the comments here or find me in the community pages there. I love learning new dishes for My Sweetheart.

Are the holidays a difficult time for you, too? Share your coping strategy in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

4 thoughts on “The Bittersweet Season Begins Again

  1. I’m already having a super tough time with the time change, let alone the season. When it gets dark early, I automatically hibernate and it gets worse by the week. My family and I are from 2 different planets so they are no help. I’m ‘re routing my first jewelry party to friends first. (Btw) Anyways as far as recipes go, I will b on the lookout. And of its an open invite which I’ve had to miss every year bc of 2 families living close, then I can and would LOVE to come this year. I recall eating your left overs 3 years ago and they were better then everyone’s. Well that’s as much energy I have in me until I wake up from the next nap. I don’t know what it is about this time.of year…… I guess a lot. (Sad smile)

    • Rachel, you know you have a standing invitation, holiday or not.

      As for jewelry parties, we need to work that out soon. My Sweetheart and I are working our butts off on this end.

  2. while the loss of family members has been more gradual and less tragic, with more seats empty from relocation than from death, the holidays are a’changing. my great aunt and uncle would always be there, fighting with each other in a loud but completely amicable way. my cousins and my older sister have their own young families to attend to in far away places. my surviving grandmother can’t stay awake long enough to have dinner. single friends with little family have moved far away. in the end, the table has gotten smaller, though the portions never do.

    we do invite some unfortunate and lonely people who we are only slightly connected to over, and though it can be awkward at times, it’s good to see these people come out of the social cold, shaking the snow of lonesomeness off over a heaping plate. my girlfriend and I are serious enough now that we have to make judgement calls about divvying up the holidays between sets of parent.

    it’s getting to the point where I have to decide what celebrations mean to me, and what traditions I will institute myself. time moves on, and my actions will eventually be the thing that someone else reminisces over and misses. the cold helps us contemplate, the sharp light exposes our edges. it’s good to take the time and do what the name says – give thanks. even this uncertainty and flux will eventually be a wistful memory. reflection is important; without careful study, it’s rare to know what fortune we’ve actually had. look at your life as an all-seeing stranger, a tourist into your own life. with new eyes, what touches our heart?

    • Alex, your comments are as thoughtful and thought-provoking as your amazing stacks. I have learned quite a bit about loss over the past decade, maybe over the past two decades. Looking back upon what I have experienced as an spectator rather than a participant only confirms what I already know: I am the architect of my own destiny, but what I design is chaos.

      Unfortunately, having that knowledge doesn’t automatically resolve the fact. I think one of the reasons I label this season “tragic” is based upon the coincidence that the losses I have experienced which have been beyond my control (specifically the deaths of dearly missed loved ones) have happened at this time of year. Nevermind the endless series of catastrophe that I place in my own path every other season, then wander along the trail expecting to not stumble across a tripwire.

      The sweet part of this bittersweet season is the knowing that I have loved and been loved in volumes I can’t begin to measure by people (and a chihuahua) I will never be able to replace. The loss of the individuals with whom I shared that irreplaceable love is the light by which I more clearly see the depth of the love that still sustains me: My Sweetheart and three chihuahuas and a very few dear, if not close, friends. Most of the bitter part is knowing that those who are here didn’t know many of those who have gone. But for all of them, I am grateful. Daily.

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