Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the Fifth Day of Christmas, the year 2008

In case you're feeling like this blog is all about butterflies and bluebirds, don't. I know you are coming to expect warm fuzzy glowing stories that make you feel good to be alive. But sometimes life sucks.

And even Christmas memories can't all be happy ones. In fact, Christmas can be about as bittersweet as it gets. Case in point, Christmas, 2005.

That Christmas season was just horrid. Our sweet Daisy dog had been diagnosed with cancer over Thanksgiving that year. She had been with us for nearly ten years at that point, and she was MrG's first real dog. He had dogs a few times growing up, but they were always outside pets. Not our Daisy - she slept inside, with us, and had been our constant companion. We adopted her together and raised her, our first experiment as "parents."

Our vet sent us home after Thanksgiving with her and told us to take her home and love her. So the joy I would have felt the week after Thanksgiving was totally obliterated by the horrible news of our sweet dog. And the days that followed were truly brutal. We lost her four days before Christmas.

To add insult to injury, my dad was really sick, too. Also with cancer. We knew it was bad, and we knew it wasn't going to get any better. My dad LOVED Christmas, and it was awful to watch him feeling so bad, devoid of the joy the holiday usually brought to him. You have no way of knowing, of course, that this is your last Christmas together, but I think we all suspected it. And it sucked.

We did our best that year. My family celebrated with its usual traditions and gifts. We visited the in-laws. Somehow I managed to get our tree put up, and Santa brought gifts for LittleG. I look back now and wonder how we got through it at all.

I think sometimes you have to feel really bad in order to appreciate how good the good times are. 2005 was bad. Really bad. But you know what? 2006 was better. And 2007 was better yet. I'm chalking 2005 up as a learning experience, and I pray that I learned what I needed to that year.

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