Sometimes I feel ashamed for being sad. I acknowledge the positive things I have in my life, and I am grateful a lot of the time. But sometimes, I’m just sad.

Christmas was awful this year, and that’s not something I feel compelled to be very honest about when people ask me, “How was your holiday?”

I want to answer that it sucked, really. I want to say, “Well, I spent most of it alone – you are well aware that my family is not here and that I split holiday time for my children with their father. I cried all day. How the fuck do you think my holiday was?”

But I don’t think that would go over very well, and it makes me sound like a chronic complainer.

So many of my well-meaning friends are very religious people who correctly contribute dollars to the red buckets in front of stores and who put extra toys and food cans in the appropriate bins in December. It seems the two most important ideas at Christmas are that no one should be hungry and no one should be without gifts.

What about the lonely?

When I think of lonely people, I think of sad, forgotten elderly who have no family. I don’t think society realizes how many displaced single parents there are who have to watch their children go and who have lost their extended families and friends in divorce. I don’t consider myself pathetic. I seem to have friends, and I certainly have a family, but at Christmas, I’m a little bit stuck and my options are limited.

What’s even harder for me to understand is that despite the fact that I voiced my sadness to a few people, no one local invited me to spend Christmas with them. It seems it’s easy to donate to the less fortunate when we don’t have to sit across from them at our holiday table. (One of my very devout Christian friends mentioned that maybe I could find a singles group on the internet.) You’ll think to yourself that I should stop whining and become the hostess, and I’ve tried that, but my acquaintances all have somewhere else to be.

I had my children for Christmas Eve, and I loved that – truly. But it was painful to be the only adult at my dinner table. I cooked a lovely meal and we ate in the formal dining room with candles and fine dishes and glittering snowflake decorations, all in my attempt to make it special and out of the ordinary. But for me, it was oh, so sad.

I suppose I’ll figure it out as I go, and either I’ll become content to be alone, or I’ll devise another creative solution so that I’m not.

But this year, it sucked, and that’s the sad truth.

One Comment on “Only the Lonely

  1. I really feel your pain, Lisa. I spent the past three Christmas's alone and was digging in, ready to face another one, when out of the blue one of my best friends invited me to come over to his inlaws house and to his place afterwards. I can't tell you how much of a blessing that was. It was more than slightly odd to be the only non-family member there while everyone opened gifts, but it felt good, too. I keep feeling like the masculine version of Emily in Our Town, appreciating everyone's family from afar, almost as a ghost, all the time wondering if they really see how wonderful their families really are. My Christmas wish for you is that this will be the last you ever spend alone.


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