Privilege Blog

Christmas Flying Away Home, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:21am

For those of us who celebrate, OK, me, Christmas is both so centered and so fly-away.

Someone I follow on Instagram (it’s a private account so I won’t attribute the quote) said they imagine this time to be about holding each other close through the bleak midwinter. Yes.

And also about flying around and making lists and forgetting lists and packing up and wrapping up and sitting down, exhausted, sometimes in tatters. My mother always squirreled away some present or other and forgot where she put it. Yesterday she actually remembered that the hospice nurse had come to see her previously. “You came to my bed,” she said, very slowly. I burst into tears and then told Mom I was crying because I was happy, and I was happy because she was happy.

As another friend said, we who are the people at the center of a family process the feelings of our beloveds through our own nervous systems. Sometimes this is exhilarating like fireworks, sometimes it’s Road Runner dynamite – a long thread burns and burns and burns and the wrong person explodes.

Whether  you celebrate or no, I hope you find a center, or that someone offers you their nervous system for a change.

Hey, how about simple tidings of comfort and joy? Yesterday before my mother briefly retrieved her memory – I say briefly for we have no idea how she will be tomorrow or the day after that – I sang her Christmas carols. I do not sing well.

Happy weekend everyone. If I miss a Saturday some time before the New Year, or directly after, fear not. I’ll just be letting someone else do the talking for a while.

15 Responses

  1. You know why I’m laughing……I’ve had so many people cycle their nervous systems through mine this week, I’m exhausted. I ruined two paintings! And now they’ve begun the next door jackhammering again. It’s only been 18 months, and yes, they can do it at 8am on Saturdays.

    What a touching exchange between you and your mom, made me a bit teary. I wish that my mom had sweetened as she’d aged, rather than become bitter and rather mean. I hope your holidays are wonderful and most of all…peaceful and full of love. XO

    1. @KSL, Oh man you have it all at once! Saturday? Not fair! Yes, I know why you are laughing. And also why you are teary. I am sorry your mom got mean. That’s unfair too, although, wholly beyond yours or her control of course. Here’s to peace and love for all. xox.

  2. I was also touched by your exchange with your mother. My mother died a little over a month ago. We are very fortunate in that she was in wonderful physical and mental shape until she turned 92, but then she failed physically and mentally for the next 8 months. I treasure the time I had with her during those last months, even though it was disconcerting that she didn’t always recognize people and she wasn’t always oriented, when I was used to her always being the smartest person in the room. I hope that you have more good moments with your mother, and I wish you a wonderful Christmas.

  3. “Simple tidings of comfort and joy” – those are the things we remember after we lose our mothers (and fathers.) Holidays are made up of traditions, and as we age and lose loved ones, we add traditions that honor their memory. You will look back on your Christmas carol concert for your mother as a treasured memory and some of those carols will forever have new meaning to you. <3
    I wish you a peaceful holiday season.

  4. “Holding each other through the bleak mid-winter”. It’s not physically winter here in Aus, but emotionally, I can totally get that. No matter the season, we each have our bleakness to deal with. Much love and may you have people to hold you tight through the bleakness. Xxxx

  5. Lisa,
    I wish for you all of the love and beauty you share each week with your readers.
    I am also hoping for your mother’s moments of lucidity during this time of flux.
    Just when I thought it would never end my father disappeared forever.
    Merry Christmas,


  6. You capture Christmas in all its glory. Albeit, not always entirely glorious. Never the less, we soldier on.

    Cherish the lovely moments. All the best, Susan

  7. With dementia and Alzheimer’s one celebrates the little victories such as retrieved memories or even facial recognition. During this holiday season, may we all celebrate the memories of the past and those we will make with those we love in the weeks ahead.

  8. Processing “the feelings of our beloveds through our own nervous systems” is exactly how it has felt with my 95-year old mother these past few years and I don’t know how or when it will end. I just know it will and I want to make this journey better for her in whatever small way that I can. I am touched by your singing carols to your mother. Just hearing your voice is what matters the most. And just being there with her. I wish you and your beloveds much joy and love this holiday season.

  9. I totally get the idea of processing the feelings of otheres through our nervous systems. All these years, I’ve vaguely called myself an “absorber, like a sponge” of others mood and tone. Your description is spot-on.

    Sing on, wobbly voice and all!

  10. You get right at the heart of the point of all of this, and so simply and eloquently as well.

    Thank you for sharing that touching moment with your mother, similar moments with my husband and my mother in law remain treasures in my heart.

    It seems my holiday season is growing simpler and yet more centered as I grow older, even as the world around me seems to become more distractedly preoccupied with the trappings rather than the treasured ones that help us hold peace. Wishing you a season of comfort and joy, and hope, always hope through whatever bleak midwinters falls.

  11. I’m sure your singing was beautiful. That thing about processing others’ feelings through our nervous systems… whew. Yes, it is both an obligation and a privilege, though some of us feel the obligation more keenly than others, and for a wider circle of loved ones. I hope you do experience both comfort and joy this holiday. (And if someone else offers the use of their nervous system for awhile, don’t be afraid to take them up on it.)

  12. I love you and I love this gentle, sweet reminder to share love and light.
    Merry Christmas, cousin!

  13. Beautiful, beautiful entry, Lisa. So many brilliant perceptions, wonderfully expressed. ❤️

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