Another Broken Holiday


In my sadness I cleaned the junk drawer.

Already on the brink of madness and despair, I’m nearly pushed over the edge when I received a call from a delivery service saying the flowers were left on my front step. The spark of wonder lasted a fraction of a millisecond, then settled into dread. I knew who would send me flowers, and I knew who would not.

They do not bring joy and gladness like so many other deliveries today surely must.

No, not these. Not this pine-fragrant, beautiful arrangement heralding Christmas and wreaking of distance, brokenness, dysfunction and life-long family wounds. The bright shiny ornaments reflecting the emptiness. The white lilies and tiny red carnations mixing in the pine and spiraling up like a tree. Spiraling, spiraling… my mind is slipping away.

I knew without looking at the card, so I didn’t. My heart sank. Tears started flowing as I picked them up, brought them in my kitchen and stood frozen, not knowing how to feel. There’s a deep understanding of why I feel this way and yet wishing I could make it go away. Wishing I could really love you, wishing you knew how to love me.

Are flowers a step up from the Harry & David Pears I’ve received the last 4 years?

My reader please don’t think I am ungrateful… this is the man I never see, the one who never shows up, the one I don’t even know… the one who raised me. I know him, he knows me… we are simply ghosts. The living ghosts of a life he can’t seem to overcome.

I’m sorry you lost mom, but it’s been 47yrs. Do I remind you of her? There’s no excuse at this point. I’ve managed a life without her and also without you.

I’m so sorry you lost your son, this wound is deeper still for me. It was he & I against the world, on our own, without you.

I lost them too. Their holes in my heart are big enough, I simply can’t let you keep digging your own. It’s better for you to just not be in there at all.

I am here, my kids are here.

We are right here. Where are you?

How many times have I tried? How many times can I break?

Another crying towel grabbed out of the drawer, the tears flood hot down my cheeks. All I could mumble was, “… but I don’t want anything. Don’t give me anything. Please. I don’t want any more stuff. Just please stop. I don’t want anything. I don’t want anything. I don’t want anything… I don’t want anything.”

Set on 2018 being a year of purging and how I really want to let go, create space, own less… it’s even harder to receive these today. I look around and see clutter and too much. Too much stuff.

It’s all just too much. I want to let go.

So many tears, I let myself sob.

Is it because I don’t want to be here anymore? ..and all of this stuff feels like flotsam on an anchor pulling me down, down, down. The wreckage of my life. It’s all around me, it’s all I can see. I really want this to end.

I pull out the card. There it is, typed in some generic Hallmark sentiment, something like… Wishing your Christmas is Merry and Bright — Love, Dad and Michele

Did it say love? I’ll have to go dig it out of the trash and see.  No. I don’t actually care. It’s not love to me.

Possibly.. Is that my true gift?

That you’ve taught me what love is not.

Today of all days, you send me flowers. You, the man I hardly know, the one I never see. The one who lives so very far and yet only an hour away. The one who hasn’t seen his grandson in 5 years. The one who saw his granddaughter once in as many.

My role model of love. It’s no wonder… no wonder…

My peace, my calm, my compassion for myself and even for you is what stops my hand from hurling this bouquet of toxicity across my living room. I long to hear it break, to see the shattered glass crash into oblivion. Giving it the same as any chance that I will ever have of understanding you.

I let myself sob more, deeper. I fill it with fresh water. I clear a space for it on my table. I inhale deeply the scent of pine, of the outdoors. I remove the card, throw it in the trash.

I start to clean. I pull out the junk drawer. I’m mumbling, “I don’t want anything, I don’t want anything, I just don’t want anything.” I pour the contents of the drawer all over the kitchen counter. Bits flying everywhere. Rubber-bands, pens, coins, keys, glue, legos, vitamins, medicine, nail trimmers, birthday candles, cards, lip gloss, hair pins, batteries, screwdrivers and more…

I sort it all through the tears. I place all what’s necessary back. Neatly organized in baggies and bottles. I grab a trash bag and sweep the rest away.

It hits me… I’m like the stuff you put in the drawer dad. Not willing to throw it away, yet having no idea what to do with it.

I love you still. It’s just not the kind of love you think it is nor maybe what it should be. It’s the same kind of love I have for the homeless man on the street. It’s sincere. I mean it. I just don’t know what else to do with it.

Merry Christmas Dad.

3 comments on “Another Broken Holiday”

  1. Dee Kay— I’ve been busy at work and with the holidays yet I plan on writing for this no later than Sunday. Thank you again for the nomination and I look forward to the process and your questions. Cheers!


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