With Thanksgiving fast approaching and the craziness of the holiday season, I found myself reflecting on the roller coaster effect I tend to experience and others as well during this time of year. Many people have holiday traditions where they gather with their family and friends to celebrate. And yet, as the years progress, some of those closest to us have gone on to other things, or worse they have departed and transitioned home.
Those of us left behind, remember our loved ones. Sometimes we celebrate and toast to them on these occasions and at others we miss the presence they had in our lives. Left to fend for ourselves, we cope with another holiday season managing without them.
Knowing this, I was reading over a piece I wrote in 2013, around Thanksgiving, for the Patch. Feeling it still served, I wanted to share it again for those that are dealing with the mixed bag of a season.
Today while out for a morning run, I was relieved to not have to think about how many layers of clothes I needed to wear. In Southwest Florida it's more of a question as to which short color is preferred. That aside, while my friends to the North deal with snow, cold, and other elements, the holiday season continues to be on my mind.
Like many that have suffered a loss, I have my good and bad days. For the most part though, I have come to accept my new reality and have moved forward from that fateful day in 2005. Reflecting further, I realize a pattern when I experience loss. This doesn't mean the loss of only a loved one, but the end of a relationship, death of an animal, or even a change in employment. After any loss, I don't feel at peace in those areas where my memories are vivid and clear from those I shared them with. The most profound loss, that of my twin brother, years later even when around loved ones, I don't feel fully comfortable or myself in those places he lived, worked, and played.
I have thought this over on several occasions, and it's quite clear to me, that this has less to do with his physical loss, and more about the relationship we had in those places and how important those experiences were to our upbringing and lives. Perhaps part of me doesn't want to fully embrace these areas again for fear that I will enjoy them too much and that might in some deluded way be an insult to his memory.
Whatever the justification, sharing this with others is important. We all experience loss differently and grieve in many ways. While many function well - eventually, there are still facets to our existence that are never the same. Many of us can move forward, but in some ways we are still held back to the very moment of our loss. There is nothing wrong with this, just something we have to accept, live with, and keep in perspective for those occasional cloudy days.
Wanting to add to this blurb, I like to tell others who are struggling this time of year to take one day at a time. Better to be gentle and know that the holidays are reminders of love, family, and yes even, loss. While it can be a challenge and there are triggers everywhere, remember those great moments you did share and how those bonding moments will never be forgotten.
NaNoWriMo 2021 is well underway and I'm cruising through the words. The light has turned on and what was a pedestrian pace in October has been ramped up. As of this morning, I have 25k words which would put me at the halfway point for the 50k goal so many set. With that said, I simply want to finish the first draft of my new book and then immediately jump onto the next project. I hope to accomplish that over the next week and know that I will be done regardless well before Thanksgiving.
I learned last year, this is my season of writing. With the weather growing colder, I feel more homebound and in a safe place to reflect on those warmer months and craft new stories. In the old blog I mentioned how I had a playlist for this creative process. Depending on the book I am working on, I will use different music, almost like a soundtrack.
During the three Marcus Files books, I listened to quite a bit of Star Trek theme music especially from Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country, which I believe is still the best Trek movie. I digress. I also found myself listening to traditional French music and Debussy. In comparison for Seli, I listened to more pop and rock. For the new book, it's been all classical, but mainly "Once Upon a Time in Paris," and smooth jazz music to a roaring fireplace.
With the music in place, I will throw myself onto the daybed, stretch out and write for an hour or two at a time. I used to try to get my writing done in the morning, but I seem to do better after dinner and before bed. The last two things that help keep me in the zone are a scented candle from Wally World and hot English Breakfast tea.
That's how the magic happens.