Guest Author - Kathie LoMonaco
When the holidays come around - there are many homes celebrating, having wonderful gatherings, but there are also many people who have a difficult time coping. This could be because of a traumatic childhood experience -- or, it could be a matter of genetics - where some of us have the gene which can lead to depression and very crippling behavior. My Mother always had a hard time around the holidays. She almost always fell into a depression. After I grew up and did some research of the family tree, I found that depression "runs" in my family. My Mother had a twin sister who also suffered from depression; as do some of my cousins. I think my Mother had a double whammy because she had experienced several devastating experiences when she was younger, before she married my Father. Years earlier, while in a relationship with, as she described him, a tall, strapping, handsome man, of Polish descent, he asked her to marry him one Christmas eve while celebrating the holiday with him and her family. I can even recall his name. Because of some of the stories she had told me, I have almost felt as if I knew him personally.
After he slipped a ring on my Mother's finger on this particular Christmas Eve, he departed from her family's house on his motorcycle, no less, to go back home that night - and on his way home he was killed in an auto accident. His motorcycle had skidded and hit a wall. He was killed on impact. Of course, I wasn't even a thought back then when my Mother was in her 20's, but I'm sure she was never the same person after that. Several years later, tragedy revisited her when her husband of approximately two years, after returning from the war overseas, was killed in a flaming auto accident. These devastating experiences happened to my Mother while she was still in her 20's. So, of course, it was apparent to me that this had to contribute to the sadness my Mother experienced around almost every holiday, and which would haunt her through much of her life. She, I'm sure, never healed from those traumas.
Back in those days, people did not as general rule, run to a psychotherapist to help them with their problems. I think it was pretty much frowned upon, lest people think you were crazy. Thus, people kept their grief locked away inside, where, ultimately, it would no doubt rear its ugly head throughout their lives.
Their sadness could also stem from being lonely - where Holidays only tend to emphasize the alone-ness for them. As a person who was single for quite a number of years, I can definitely identify with lonely times, especially at the holidays, since the majority of my family were spread out across the United States - as, one by one - each of my family members moved out of the area where we had all once lived. So, if there was one thought I would like to leave you with at this time, with the Holiday near at hand, it would be to have a little more patience, understanding and caring towards those who tend to get into blue moods and may not be as jubilant as we might think they should be.