I had a feeling today. I had this aching feeling all day that just kept getting larger as the day went on. This feeling about the holidays coming up. It’s been on and off lately but, today it felt a little bit stronger. But at first, nothing out of the ordinary. Around this time for the past 4 years my mom would always start calling more. She always felt more upset around the holidays because she didn’t have any of us around. That’s when the phone calls started. And the texting. And the voicemails. They always got worse around the holidays. My grandma used to say that she couldn’t live with herself around that time.
So today I just kept having this on and off feeling about how I hadn’t checked my old email account, the one that she knows. And I didn’t tell anyone about this feeling because it’s so normal or usually just in passing that I just don’t think about it. Sometimes it just comes and goes. Just because it was relatively stronger today, didn’t mean I had to even talk about it really. I just held back and knew that it would go away. But for some reason, it made me check my old email account, just in case I was right, and sure enough, she did write me back. It’s from the middle of October. I wish I hadn’t opened that email account. I wish I just left it and continued thinking that she hadn’t replied. It wasn’t a bad email, but it wasn’t a good one either. It was honest.
I’m upset because I’ve had this aching feeling that wouldn’t go away and it was almost like my heart knew. It was almost like while reading that letter, I understood her. And felt her pain, again. The one that accompanied her calls. Even if it’s mostly a pain associated with guilt for what she’s done. Even if it’s a pain that I don’t have to feel bad for or feel guilty for. Pain is pain. It doesn’t matter. I know it’s there. And maybe it’s because I’m her daughter still. Maybe because she gave birth to me. Maybe that’s why I felt this feeling today and knew that she had written me. Maybe I will always feel her pain. Maybe I’ll always feel a strangely painful connection despite our disconnection. I don’t know. But the past few days or so I’ve been thinking about her. I’ve forgotten and put her out of my head for a while, especially since I let go and wrote to her. It’s helped me a lot and I know it has made a huge impact on how I’m living. But lately, because of Christmas coming up, I’ve been thinking about her and Dad more. The holidays are always harder. Katherine today said it could be a huge part of why I am especially anxious. I can’t really tell.
This year is the first time I’m actually excited about the holidays though. I even have on and off “Christmas spirit.” But there are still moments where I feel an anxiety about Christmas. For 19 years I had Christmas with my parents, even if three of those years were hard because of my mom. I think the absence is still strong and noticeable. I think it’s getting smaller and it’s getting filled in. But I think it’s still noticeable and still hard. I think it makes me sick sometimes. I think it makes me feel really uneasy and anxious when I think about it and when I don’t think about it. Even this year at Thanksgiving I sat there and still saw two empty seats even though all the seats were taken. I still hear silence in the kitchen while Nan cooks. I still see shoes missing in the hallway. I see ghosts of them and even ghosts of me. And I hate that. I notice their absence more than I noticed their presence. I know I can’t feel badly about that, but I think I do.
I think this weighs down on me.