With the holidays upon us, I find myself reflecting back on past holidays and not always in the best way. I remembered that Thanksgiving of 2016 was the last Thanksgiving I spent with my mother. I broke her out of the nursing home for a home cooked meal at my house. It was a day of joy for both of us and she ate like it was her last Thanksgiving...because it was. I'm so glad I made it a good one. Christmas Day of 2016, I was going to treat my mother to another home cooked meal. Unfortunately, she became very ill that Christmas Eve and never rebounded. She passed the following year and I never got to have that Christmas with her.
I don't share my past experiences to trigger sadness in others or ask for pity. I simply share my experiences in hopes to inspire and guide you into a happier state of existence. It's very easy to focus on the sadness of holidays past; what could have been and what wasn't. I literally have 10 journals filled with every time someone did me wrong and/or upset me. As I go back through my journals, I think to myself "Why the heck do I want to remember that? Why didn't I fill up my journals with happy memories?" I now know how holding on to crappy memories affect my thoughts, behavior, and future.
Take a moment now, and think of a crappy holiday memory.
How does it make you feel inside?
Now think of a happy holiday memory. (If you're having trouble with this, make up a happy holiday memory.) Notice what changes in your body as you remember this good time. Feeling warm and fuzzy? Feeling the love and laughs? Notice...this was done ALL in your head sitting in front of your computer!
This holiday season, I'm made a conscious choice to remember HAPPINESS. Instead of remembering the Christmas of 2016 where my mother was sick, I decided to remember the 1975 Christmas that Santa bought me The Remco Magic Hat set. How did "she" know that's what I wanted? Instead of focusing on that I no longer had my parents to celebrate Thanksgivings with, I decided to focus on remembering all the Thanksgivings where they were alive and well. Their bodies are gone, but the memories of them live in my heart.
Sitting at the table with family, enjoying a turkey my mom made, remembering how the house smelled as it roasted in the oven. My father was enjoying the football game. My extended family pulls up in the driveway. My grandmother is fighting off all offers to help as she carries in a gigantic pot of home-made macaroni smothered in her signature sauce.
(When you're Italian, EVERY holiday has macaroni.) It's soon time to eat, and my mother yells out "Traci, pour wine!" I poured her glass first...LOL. I hear the ice cubes clinking in the wineglasses. I remember the aromatic smell of dead grapes filling my Italian nose, as I pour the boxed wine into everyone's glass. I don't remember the exact brand of wine, but I do know it was something like Chateau du Winn Dixie, because last week was a great year! Just before we sit down to eat, I hear the sound of the can opener and the sploshy suctiony sound of the cranberry sauce hitting the bowl. Yes! These are the holidays I'm choosing to remember. Cheers Mom & Dad!