Saturday, December 20, 2008

Down for the holidays

Is there a weird medieval saint who woke up each morning in a panic? Or is that very panic what drove a girl to the convent and its rigid hours of prayer and silence?

All I know is that it’s the holiday season and I am falling fast into that state I refer to as holiday gloom. I attribute it to the sundered family and the fractured self. (And maybe just a little bit to the short days, the tinny muzak and the plastic Santa and his eight ungulates on our neighbor’s lawn inflating and deflating like clockwork.)

Is there a divorced person out there who genuinely looks forward to the cheer-infested shoals of the holiday season? Foolish optimism leads me to believe that there is, but I don’t know you. I don’t even know of your existence.
You’d have to be brain dead not to recognize that the unifying theme of all these end-of-the-year holidays is family togetherness. And for those of us who are divorced, that is exactly what is not. Even for those of us who divorced for all the right reasons and have gone on to make happy lives for ourselves, the holidays are when you doubt yourself. The holidays remind us of our failure to keep the family intact. Even if our expectations were unrealistic we still failed to meet them. Even halfway.

So, because it just might cheer me up, I will keep looking for the patron saint of depression. There are several patron saints of mental illness (Dymphna and Christina the Astonishing come to mind) but they tend to be possessed or have ecstatic leanings, or else they are practitioners of the arts of levitation and bilocation (think Drogo and Benedict Labre).

Photo by Andrew Or

1 comment:

Rebecca Rice said...

Even for those in intact families, or barely intact families, the holidays are depressing.
I am always cheered by the day after Christmas! Long live Boxing Day!