The Weight of Nine

That time of year that I love the most is approaching. It is the wonderful holidays. Thanksgiving is coming which means that Christmas and New Years are not that far away.

But it this time of year means something profoundly different for those who have lost loved ones. The holidays can be a hard it me. And indeed they are, more so than any other time of the year. Because from here until the end of the year, there are not only 3 major holidays, but 1 anniversary and 3 family birthdays. Ugh.

But this year is still set out to be the best Christmas so far, because this year so many people will be added. My boyfriend and his family. I am moving to another state and in with him. And he has 4 kids and both parents. I will decorate and cook like crazy to make sure that the togetherness is great.

But they are not my family, they are his, a fact of which I am acutely aware. His children already have a mother, and his parents don’t need another child. Bit in life we have choices, and we can choose to make the best of a situation – a situation I am blessed to have .

But the pain of missing my family will still be there. Loosing 9 family members in less than a year would humble anyone. Those are 9 people who I will not see or speak to this Christmas. Nine people for whom I will not buy gifts. Nine. And the weight of nine is heavy.

This move is digging up all kinds of pain that I have neatly catalogued and put away, or buried rather, so as not to disturb my life. But the truth is, it is incredible painful to not tell my sister about the move, about the why, and the who and the where. Because I want my sister to tell my sister, more than anything. Yes she is still alive, but loss can take many forms.

In my minds fantasy, she comes over and helps me pack. We laugh and giggle and things and memories. We pack and drink wine, tell stories and share. We enjoy being sisters. And we plan visits to see each other. And we make promises of phone calls. But the reality is that if she knew I was moving, there would be nothing but hateful drama and demands of entitlement. Because the fact of the matter is, I am only a means to an end for her.

The truth is that I have tried not to love her my own sister. That would be so much easier. I have prayed that God take away the love and replace it with indifference. I have prayed, but yet the love is still their so it is obviously not going anywhere. I love her and her children no matter what. I can’t stop it.

And that kind of love is very painful when they hate you. It is the beautiful deep love for a sibling and the torture of still loving them no matter what. That is the amazing beauty and brilliant curse of the human condition. I wish I didn’t love her, but I do. And there is no way to stop it so there is also no way of stopping the pain of the situation of not being able to share with her. I will never get used to that.

However, life is a series of choices, and so I can choose to let this pain destroy my joy and make me miserable, or I can choose to rise anyway. I I choose to rise. So this Christmas, this entire holiday season, I will concentrate on what I have and not what I don’t. And what I have is a wonderful man who loves me and friends who are my family who love me better than anyone else. I have my wonderful life of love that I have created and I will continue to curate my life.

And in carrying the weight of nine, I shall find my strength. We all have pain to bear in this life. Ands there will still be moments this season, and many more, that are hard. We we don’t have to stay there, in the dark. Some people do and they turn bitter. But not I. I will never let that happen.

Life is short. Acknowledge and work through the pain, but don’t live there. Find the joy and follow it. Because life is huge and there is enough spacve for everything.

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