Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Jorinde Berben
It’s December 24th, about 9 pm, and I’m sitting here on the couch in my living room, alone except for our ginger cat Ginny who likes to keep me company.
Now, perhaps I need to clarify the image a bit, because even though I’m alone in this room, my two parents are watching a movie in their living room downstairs. I’ve also just had dinner with my love and his 3 cheeky children in their house across the street. Sitting here alone, watching the twinkling lights in my Christmas tree is the perfect place for me at this moment, since I’m also feeling a bit under the weather. My children are with their father, and tomorrow I’ll spend Christmas with them, my siblings and their families. This is the perfect moment of quiet in a busy weekend.
Yet, at the same time, I know that my perfect quiet is someone else’s deafening silence. There are people who are alone these days yet do not want to be. People who long for connection, joy and the warmth of being around others. People who wish they could share in the giving and receiving that is such a big part of Christmas, especially when you have children.
Although I cherish my solitude at this moment, it’s been less than a year since I started recovering from a depression in which being alone wasn’t the break from being overstimulated but the sinkhole in which all joy slowly disappeared. I know how impossible it can be to fight your own mind with your own mind, to get better when, frankly, you don’t even remember what that feels like. I didn’t do it alone. I don’t think I could have.
So as I sit here, resting, enjoying some soft music and the simple act of writing, I also want to keep in mind those for whom these days are filled with anxiety, pain, grief and/or despair. They shouldn’t be. In fact, no one should have to face the tragedies of this life alone, not on any day and especially not on Christmas. It just isn’t right.
Knowing the darkness makes you cherish the light.
Let’s cherish the light.
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