(posted on FB 12/7/2012)
2001 - Dad died on December 16th. His funeral was on the 20th. My parents' ward Christmas program was on Sunday the 23rd. I chose not to go because I knew people would be saying things I didn't want to hear and take away from the Christmas message. Honestly, I wasn't in the mood for the message either.
2002 - A lot of firsts without my daddy. What used to bring me some comfort and calm in the Christmas music only brought me pain and I couldn't bear to listen.
2004 - The next major change. I spent several days around Christmas watching my mother die. She died on the 27th and music was the last thing on my mind that year. Worst. Christmas. Ever.
2005 - I had moved but wasn't well and discovered some health problems that needed to be addressed. I pretty much avoided as much Christmas as I could, whether or not it was my favorite in the past, because it reminded me of losing my parents.
2006 - I was better and going back to church. I went to the Christmas program, but stayed in the foyer for the meeting because I didn't know what type of shape I'd be in.
I don't recall the exact year I was finally able to watch and enjoy the Christmas program inside the chapel, but I know it took a while.
2009 - I was called to be music chairman at my church in December. I was gratefully told that the change would take place after the program. That may have been the first year I could stay in the chapel for that meeting.
2010 - uh oh! I'm kind of in charge of the Christmas program. Occasionally, friends forget and leave the radio on and I don't tell them to turn down the Christmas music.
2011 - Not without a little drama, I ended up coordinating the Christmas program. I also decided to go to the concert at the first of the month, but I felt uneasy. I thought maybe it was just too much Christmas at once, but when I got home I discovered a tree in my back yard that didn't belong there.
2012 - Looking back, I can see that each year I've done a little more and a little more in the way of celebrating Christmas with music. This year was the most involved I've been. Oh yes, there will be a program later this month at church (insert appropriate stress screams here!). In addition, I joined a handbell group and, while sometimes the thought of Christmas music is hard for me, I've been able to play some this year. I've been part of a few (?) concerts and have a couple more with the bell group. When I've been in the moment, I've been ok. When I think about what I'm doing, sometimes a bit of dread or sadness comes over me, but I will say that being the most involved musically in this season has been good for me.
Each year, I've unofficially set myself a goal to do a little more. I won't keep doing that until I've overscheduled myself into a frenzy, but it's nice to have an old friend back with me during this time of year. There are still some things that are hard. Maybe if my mom hadn't been so involved in Christmas programs and singing, it would have been easier for me to get back into it, but it was another reminder of something I no longer had. The change in my feeling and attitude took quite a few years. I'm grateful for the improvement and progress that I've made.