HOLIDAYS: BEING GENTLE WITH OURSELVES

photo 1-2

Son Jeremy and daughter Iysa

My brother JF wrote: The Christmas of 1991 found me recently separated, and with joint custody of my eleven-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son.

After a few hours (of being together with their mother at our family home), I brought them over to my place for a nice lunch…hey, I’m Italian; we gotta eat…and more presents. Finally it was time to return them. I walked them to her door, and then grabbed myself two armfuls of children. “Merry Christmas, kids. I love you very much.” “Merry Christmas, Daddy. We love you, too.”

And as I stood there, the door slowly closed in my face, and the deadbolt clicked into place. I can still hear that click. And I became overwhelmed by the crushing realization that, for the first time since I had my little angels, they would be somewhere on Christmas where I couldn’t go. Where I wasn’t even welcome.

Now intellectually I knew, of course, that not everyone is thrilled on Christmas; that many people get together simply out of habit or obligation. I knew that. But with my emotions wrecked, at every house I passed I was certain that all of them were filled with love and beauty and children and happiness. And the homes with lots of cars out front made me feel even worse.

(The entire article: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/portfolio/2013/12/04/A-dad-s-separation-ended-in-a-pair-of-welcoming-arms.print)

 My reflection: The holidays can be tough times, especially when your child is an addict. I remember well the Christmas of 2006 when neither Jeff nor Jeremy came home. Our lives were chaos. I wept through most days, feeling desperate for the broken state of our family.

Today’s Promise to consider: The holidays are stressful enough without me adding all the expectations of what I think a happy family looks like and acts like. This season, I will be gentle with myself and my loved ones. Yes, I will be gentle.

 

 

 

 

2095
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JOY
JOY
8 years ago

Perfect timing. Love and prayers to all of us missing our loved ones. And yes, let us be gentle with ourselves– and find the joy in the midst of the struggles and love love love when we can. Thank you for staying close to us, Libby. Blessings to you, Jeff and Jeremy. Peace in our hearts.

pat nichols
pat nichols
8 years ago

As I travel my own path of recovery from codependency I learned not to dwell on expectations nor to relive the past but only to live in the moment and to be grateful in the moment. This is how I create gentleness for myself and others.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

Oh yes, the holidays. Look back but don’t stare…memories of many wrecked holidays, many sad holidays and early on in my family and while my kids were growing up many wonderful holidays. I have had the full gamut of experiences. Now, I don’t have the Norman Rockwell expectations, but try to keep my focus on keeping it simple. I cut back wherever I can. Still, it can be overwhelming. Recognizing that most families have issues, can be helpful, and keeping expectations of ourselves to a minimum too can be helpful. Keep it simple. Love to you all. I have such gratitude for Libby, Jeff, and all of you here. May God bless you all
Jane

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

Love to you too Libby. Peace and serenity for all of us is my Christmas wish
Love Jane

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago

Hello all,

I’ve been very sick (8 day hospital stay in ICU). I am thankful that I am better and on the mend now, thanks to our heavenly father and lots of prayers from family.

It seems that I always seem to get sick at Christmastime. One has to wonder if years of hating having to go to Mom’s house for Christmas so everyone can ask me how Jerry (my son) was doing. He was always in prison at that time. He always thought it was easy to steal, sell, and use.

Ok – that’s it – I’m not looking back anymore. I will be gentle with myself this time and focus on my health and healing.

God Bless all of you. Another year sharing that means so much to me has passed.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza or whatever your holiday you may be enjoying. You are all angels of God and so very special to me.

I love you Libby. For helping so many people around the world. You’ve truly found your calling. God Bless you Jeff and Jeremy, Merry Christmas to you.

All my love, especially to Jane, Pat, and Joy.

Jane
Jane
8 years ago

Dear Barbara
So sorry to hear you were ill but happy you are on the mend. Yes let’s all be gentle with ourselves. Look forward. Be well, heal and focus on self care. We all need your wisdom here and enjoy your friendship. Maybe one day we’ll all sit at a coffeehouse and meet over a cup of coffee or tea!
Be well Barbara and find some serenity in your own recovery this holiday season
With love
Jane

pat nichols
pat nichols
8 years ago

Barbara,

So very sad to hear of your illness but blessed to know you are recovering.

We are all so grateful for your wonderful posts and taking the time to share your experience, love and hope with us.

And Jane, how great would that be if we could all get
together. Let’s think about that, it’s possible.

Merry Christmas to all my friends on this Blog and to all my fellow travelers on the road to recovery.

JOY
JOY
8 years ago

Dear Barbara :
I want to join in with Pat and Jane and Libby wishing you a peaceful holiday and so VERY glad you are better. Take care. You have given me so much strength and courage and your wisdom has helped me so much. Yes, my son is in prison this year. But I know where he is. And he is nine months clean. But last year he’d been missing and I lived waiting for the phone to ring , for news that he had overdosed. So this is better. I’ve listened deeply when he called on the phone because of your advice. No I have not gone to see him – and I am gladI took care of myself– he did not want me to go either. He said I’ve put you through enough. Even the recognition that his disease has hurt others is new. The new year will bring his release– sometime in the first two months –we have said no to his coming here -hard one and he will go to half way house. I have learned that his journey of continued recovery will be up to him. Not anything I can do but keep praying and try to stay close and love love love him but out of chaos and control my fear. As sad as I thought once I might be given this time of year with a son in jail, I only have moments where sad really creeps in and then I say : go read Libby’s blog!!! I do . I scroll through and thnak God for everyone. Love you Barbara. Your words here have been my salvation many a day. Peace.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
8 years ago

My love to all of you today. Merry Christmas. May this season bring peace and serenity, acceptance and spiritual joy.

Susan
Susan
8 years ago

Merry Christmas to All…
I am thankful to have peace in my heart today; my son is nearly 8 months clean – Michael is HAPPY and Grateful. And so am I. Through some of the hardest times, I came here and found wisdom and inspiration. Thank you, Libby and all.
Love,
Susan