Saturday, December 17, 2011

Someone to watch over me

I sent some Christmas cards today for the first time in a long time.  I did the Christmas card deal when I first moved out of my parents house and quickly found that the manual maintenance of a Christmas card list (pre PC days) was way more difficult than I wanted to deal with, never mind the handwriting and the cost of postage.

Today's Christmas card delivery was a little different, though.  These were cards to men I had never met.  They are recovering from substance abuse and are in a facility for self-same.  They are away from family and friends and may possibly have alienated those people by things they did while dealing with their addiction.  If you are alone at the holidays, your loneliness may be magnified because you know so many of the people around you are not alone.

The group I work with makes it a point every year to ask people to send these men cards to let them feel a little closeness of the holidays, even if it is from someone they have never met.  And this year I decided to actually do it.  I am not at all sure that my cards will be welcome, not from any defect in the cards, but simply my doubt that it could mean something to someone I don't know.  But if there's even the slightest chance that a card from me can take away some of the pain and loneliness of the holidays for someone, then I needed to do it.

These years, even in a good year, Christmas is a mixed bag.  My late mother was born in December and the holidays are just a double barrelled reminder that she's dead.  Even though I have Kathy this year, the fact that I have to split my granddaughter's time with Portia (the ex-wfe) is a reminder of the failure of my relationship prior.  Much like the men I wrote to today, my family is far away, although that too can be a mixed bag, were I actually back home.

I heard once that this was a bad time of year for suicides.  I can see why.  (Let me state for those of you who know me personally that I am not at all contemplating suicide; I'm merely thinking about this time of year and reflecting on the sadness that sometimes comes with the season).  All of that said, there is always hope, even in the darkest of times and I hope that my card helped bring some.

Ella Fitzgerald, a favorite of my mother's.

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