Christmas Eve Memories

candle in holder

Growing up, I remember Christmas Eve, and the excited anticipation of presents on Christmas day. Our church always had Christmas Eve services, and when I was old enough, I joined my mother on our violins, accompanying the choir singing a holiday spirited piece, like Handel’s Messiah, or Vivaldi’s Gloria. I love Christmas music.

We played two Christmas Eve services, running home in-between to scarf down dinner. One year when Mom was too tired to cook dinner, we picked up pizza. It went over so well, it became a Christmas Eve tradition: pizza dinner – picking it up after the first service, giving us time to eat and catch a break before the 11 pm service.

Moving out on my own took me away for Christmas for the first time in my early 20’s. Over the years, whether I was away working, or able to come home for Christmas, I always enjoyed the anticipation of the big day.

Having my own child brought my own childhood excitement right back.

That all changed four years ago when Christmas Eve became the day that my mother took her life. As painful as that was, it was also a bit of a gift to me. You see, our relationship was complicated. The call that brought news of Mom’s death brought on a rush of emotions, from shock to pain to relief. I could breath again.

Our society has certain definitions and expectations of what a mother is. My mother was and was not a “mother”. A mother is supposed to be nurturing, loving, compassionate (at least at times), and a safe place to fall. Mom was not safe. She fed us, took care of us, taught me the domestic arts, and I know that she loved me. But at times, I was her target.

Because she was bipolar, there were times that she was so depressed that she couldn’t be a mother to three young children. And when she was manic, those were the times when I had to duck and cover. Not my brothers. Just me.

The last few years of Mom’s life were particularly difficult, especially after she had a bad fall and almost died. She was never the same after that fall. Because Dad was in the hospital for a broken bone at the time, I dropped my life and flew across country to be there with them for a month. When they were finally both home, I arranged and managed their in-home care. Less than five months later, Dad died. He’d lived with cancer for over 25 years, and as much as he fought leaving, I let him know that we would always take care of Mom. With that burden off his shoulders, he died.

After Dad’s death, Mom’s mental health was out of control. First she spiraled into mania so fast and so far that within weeks of Dad’s passing, she became delusional. Calls went round and round, from the caregiver to me to the doctor, psychopharmacologist, and therapist. As Mom shot up like a rocket, I tried to get her help. But due to the way the system is structured, I couldn’t help her until she became a danger to herself. She finally reached that point, and after four weeks in the local mental hospital, they sent her home, with the caveat that she have care around the clock. She was still very high, and still a bit delusional, and they sent her home.

From that time on, for the rest of her life she was never without care for at least 12 hours a day. As she came down from the mania, visited “normal” for less than a week, and started to dive into depression, it became clear that her illness was not going to let Mom even begin to be able to process Dad’s death.

She spent the last six months of her life in the deepest depression I ever saw, necessitating another hospital stay during the autumn before she died. Mere weeks after being released from the hospital, her in-home care had gone from around the clock (again) to 12 hours a day.

Once the caregiver had gone home, and Mom was ready for bed, she took pills. A lot of them. Several psych meds. The next morning, Christmas Eve 2012, after letting Mom “sleep in” the caregiver found her dead in bed.

The gift in her passing was that I could finally dig in to working on myself, without incurring further assault or having to deal with everything her mental instability brought to my life. Actually, in the beginning, I didn’t even know how deep the damage went, because of blocking out most of my childhood memories.

With some inheritance money, I decided to return to a modality of healing that had brought some surprising metaphysical experiences into my life: hypnotherapy. Having been introduced to a woman through a local healing center, I decided to give this new-to-me hypnotherapist a try. With her background in counseling, spirituality, and hypnosis training, she was a great fit for me. And we delved into my lifelong issue with weight.

What I didn’t expect, was to discover that just about everything I worked on, had its roots in my very early childhood. And it all revolved around my relationship with my mother. Food cravings, body image, self-esteem, self-empowerment, and so much more. It was a bit shocking to discover just how intensely I had been affected.

Let me just say, that when it comes to matters of survival, the brain can be genius. It creates wonderful beliefs to make it happy (even if they are lies), and buries things that are too painful to hold onto for long.

Over the past four years, I’ve healed so very much, reclaiming lost chunks of myself, letting go of decades of pain, and remembering myself as a divine being. I’ve had an ultra-master class in human behavior, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

So, as much as Christmas Eve has been a reminder of the horrible day that my mother killed herself, year by year, I’m unwrapping more and more of the gifts of our relationship.

My wish for everyone, is for you to discover how to find gifts in the challenging experiences in your lives. And to unwrap your gifts, proudly wearing them for all to see. Because the biggest gift you’ll receive is you.

PEACE! (Enjoy this beautiful rendition of Joy To The World).


About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a creative 18 year old son, a former merchant ship's deck officer, and a wife. To feed my creative side I take photos. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family. My most recent adventure has me navigating a very challenging Kundalini Awakening.
This entry was posted in Energy Therapy, Holistic Healing, Hypnosis, inspiration, Mental Health, Spirituality, The Voyage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Christmas Eve Memories

  1. I love Christmas music, too, and I listen to it from Thanksgiving on through New Year’s Day. I don’t get sick of it because there are so many variations out there on all the great classics, as well as some new contemporary pieces.

    Having a difficult relationship with a parent is something I know about all too well. Your story is painful, and my heart goes out to you–but I think you have it right on the nose when you talk about the opportunities given to us from the death of a loved one. It’s loss, first and foremost, but it is a chance to look inward and try to rise above the pain and turmoil and start anew. I told myself long ago I did not want to repeat the performances of either of my parents. Although I love them dearly, the way they live(d) their lives created huge crisis moments for me with loads of anxiety-driven fear, and I’m still fighting my way through. Complicated doesn’t even begin to explain it.

    Enjoy your Christmas traditions, old and new, and celebrate this most heartrending of holidays with peace and happiness.

    • Kate, thanks for you comment. I’ve been listening to Christmas music, from classical, to traditional, to everything else, lately. I’m so sorry we share having complicated parental relationships. My having discovered how to “heal” old stuff, has truly been a miracle in my life. It goes far beyond coping and learning to live with things, it makes them gone. I write more about this amazing journey and process on my other blog, Remembering My Divinity (linked to my gravatar). Peace to you.

  2. The Hook says:

    The tears in my eyes are the greatest compliment I can pay you, my friend.
    Besides money, of course.
    Be well.

    • Wipe those tears. I’ll take cash! 😉

      But seriously, thank you so much. It’s been and is being an amazing journey. I’m sharing more about the healing nuts and bolts over on Remembering My Divinity.

  3. jamivee says:

    Wow. I’m not really sure what to say. There aren’t words that will work here. I had no idea this is what you are processing. Pretty heavy stuff. Wow. You know what? You are freaking amazing! Look at the place you’re at now…you really have kicked some ass these past 4 years. Nothing but respect for you…💕

    • Thanks so much Jami. Yeah. Our relationship was complicated. I thought my childhood was normal, even though I knew that other people’s mothers weren’t like mine. It was my normal. If you looked at our family photo albums, you’d see pictures of holidays, times during vacations, birthdays, graduations, and more normal, everyday life type stuff. The only stuff I knew was really messed up, were things that happened when I was older; old enough to know clearly that something was really off (like when Mom had her first breakdown when I was in high school). I didn’t see details of young childhood stuff until I was healing it. So, even though I was living with the resultant beliefs that were created, I wasn’t aware of the dysfunction that surrounded their creation, until I was actively healing the belief, and it was no longer needed. With the shift, the pain left. (I’ll write more about this in specific detail on RMD, because we all walk around with unconscious pain- I’m working on a piece about pain right now).

      Hey- nothing but respect for you too!

  4. I cried when I read your words. Nothing I can say will be enough. Wishing you peace this season.

    • Oh Darla, my heart is touched. I don’t know if you fully appreciate just how important a role you’ve had in my journey. I became Reiki attuned because of you. I didn’t have a clue what it was, but because this thing helped your son, I found a class and, whammo! After that class, something changed (as you know, Reiki can do that) and was set in motion for me to wake up, which has made all the difference in my life. Because of changing how I perceive the world, the healing of my childhood has been crazy good in the past four years. I have a better sense of self now than most people I know who had “normal” moms. I am no longer tangled up with Mom energetically (that ended this past summer). And pain and hurt is gone. Healing it, as you know, doesn’t mean finding a way to live with discomfort, it means making it gone.

      I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. So if you shed any tears, let them be in joy and celebration for where I am today – which totally rocks! I’ve unwrapped my gifts from my relationship with mom, and I’m wearing them like a new Christmas sweater.

      • OH here comes those tears again! And they are of pure joy for you and your journey. I had no idea the Reiki connection we initially shared seemed to set you down this path to healing. At this point in your education, you have more to teach ME about energy and suffering and transformation.

        Let me also say reading about your relationship with your mom resonated with me so much that I began writing about my own childhood pain and trauma on my other blog. I’ve reached a point of forgiveness rather than anger towards my mom.

        And because of you, I’ve found the Ask The Council blog which has really helped me in understanding a little about my own past lives and purpose in life. As you know, this information is priceless.

        It’s almost like you and I have parallel spiritual journeys that came together at the right time and place (through blogging of all places! haha!) I truly believe the universe/spirit/God/etc. puts people together for a greater purpose. Have a very Merry Christmas with your sweet family, Susan! Peace to you.

        • Yes! Yes! And yes!!! We bump into certain people along our little (and not so little) journeys ON PURPOSE. Yes. I see this now. You do too. Our sons are the future with their own amazing gifts for the world. I’m so glad to see your questions to The Council, and am thrilled with your peace with your mom. That is beyond awesome. I’m just sorry that I wasn’t able to be where I am now while Mom was still in a body. And I’m getting ok with that too. Merry Christmas to your and your little (or not so little) elves!! Peace!

  5. emjayandthem says:

    The way you translated your lessons through your pain, and that you can find things to love and treasure about your relationship with you Mom, makes me cheer for you! Wishing you love and peace this Christmas and always ~ MJ

  6. You are seriously one of the most amazing and resilient women I know. It seems that many people in your shoes would have lived their life in a fog of bitterness and hate – not you! You look for lessons and are even grateful for them. The more I learn about you, the more appreciative I am of your friendship. Blessings to you and your family, Susan. So blessed to call you a friend. Xo

    • Michelle, thank you so much. The truth is, I lived for decades with bitterness, hate, and piles of fear deep in my bones. And it was only in discovering this magical thing called energy healing, that I began to realize just how much pain and fear I’d blocked out of my mind, and have been able to heal it. Not learn to cope and deal, but to have it be gone. (I’m about to post on Remembering My Divinity just exactly what “healing” is and what it looks like in my life).

      As for looking for lessons, I saw during a healing session that I planned lessons in my life to grow from; and because I have some great tools to help me glean those lessons much faster (and make life more comfortable), and having a totally different perspective of life because of having a spiritual awakening, I use them. (When I came across the book, Your Soul’s Plan, I knew it was gold because of already knowing that the premise of the book is very true for me.)

      I am also blessed to call you friend. Have a wonderful 2017.

  7. MollyB111 says:

    Wow! And so much of this resonates. Beautiful and amazing. This journey can change you. For me, I felt like it saved me. Thank you! ❤

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