DP Writng Challenge Accepted! *Ghosts Of Christmas Past*


Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past

“It’s time for a year-end retrospective — but bigger. This week, weave a story about yourself told through the lens of your past December 23rds (or 24ths, depending on which side of the International Date Line you’re on as you read this).”Personal stories that make a larger point almost always resonate with readers. As cultural voyeurs, we’re all interested in the details of each others’ lives that we glean from blog posts, but it’s the bigger life lessons, epiphanies, and shared experiences that draw us in. This week, you’ll write that kind of post — but with a very specific focus”…..
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*As a little girl, I loved the wonders of the “Christmas Season” displayed in colorful lights, wrapping paper and bows, and never being able to sleep, as wanting to hear the pitter patter of hoofs on our roof. They were carefree days. As us kids grew older, we began our own lives in many different directions. By this time, I had been through some childhood traumatic events that NO little girl should ever have to endure. By the hands of two family friends, my life would never be the same, and changed forever.*
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I became a girl afraid of others, especially men, which put a life long strain between my father and I, interfered in my “Quest” to find unconditional love in many of my relationships with not only men, but with women friends as well. I also came from a family of abuse at times, due to over inducement of alcohol with my dad and brother, who also dabbled with drugs.
I guess you could say we were a dysfunctional type of family as when living in this dynamic, you think all families live like this.
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One of our “Christmas Eve” traditions as a family was loading everyone in the station wagon, and go look at all the houses decorated with holiday lights. As we drove past house after house, I would wonder what “those families” were like inside all those “Gingerbread” looking homes.
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Again, as my siblings and I grew into adulthood, getting married, having families of our own, Christmas became one long “Battle” of WHO is going Where, hurt feelings and arguments, because someone was left out of the holiday loop, and more. I began to dread the holidays. I moved away to another state, met and married my “True Love,”  and my brother was on his third marriage and had a son. My older sister married, had three beautiful boys, then lost her husband to cancer, and began her journey as an alcoholic as my parents aided in enabling her for years. My younger sister lived at home with my parents until she was 31, and finally married just before my mom passed away in 2003.
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“This is when our “Christmas” future changed forever!”
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“The very last time I was home for Christmas was after my mom’s passing in August 2003.”
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Fast forward to the future. Dec. 2003 was the very last Christmas my family were together. Except my brother and his son was not among the so-called festive holiday. It was because of a “Dark Family Secret” that came to light. My husband and I came to help my dad through the first holiday season after my mom passed. We drove from So. Oregon to be with him.

It was all so strange. It was like we were all just “Pretending” to be happy, joyous, and soon learned that my mother was the “Christmas Glue” that held our family together. She would cook, bake, and decorate her heart out for the holidays. She was Italian, so she kept everyone in line, with no arguments at Christmas time. Even though my relationship was rocky with her too, “I Loved Her To Pieces”! And again, this was not only the last Christmas I spent with my family, sadly it was the last time I had any contact with my “Father & Two Sisters.
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Now I’m here today, on “Christmas Day.” No kids, no family, no Christmas cards exchanged, no phone calls. Just a Christmas with my hubby and  I, as it feels like just another ordinary day. I sit here and type my feelings about “Christmas” pasts,  I here all the kids outside playing with all their toys that “Santa” has left, and hearing the laughs, joy, and giggles. No, no regrets. It’s just remembering that “Life” goes on, even at holiday time.

Besides, Life in Recovery means I’m never alone. I have a “Higher Power” who is always with me each day. And I’m blessed to have a loving & caring husband too!

Yes, just sitting here remembering all of my Christmas’s Past……
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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