The Day After Christmas

Cynthia L. Eppley 01/03/2022

“Greeting cards have all been sent The Christmas rush is through But I still have one wish to make: A special one for you….”

Merry Christmas, Darling

This song was first recorded by the Carpenters in 1970. It is still popular 50 years later. And we can see why: haunting melody, heartfelt emotive vocals. And certainly, a message for all of us. We long to be with those we love.
We long to be recreating family memories and traditions.

“Merry Christmas, darling We’re apart, that’s true But I can dream And in my dreams
I’m Christmasing with you.”

We’re Apart

My very first Christmas away from home was with my fiancé Bob, in Western PA. We had spent holidays apart, but now we were engaged. And so I was with him.
But how do you explain the longing to be in two places at once?
Separating from your family to join together with the one you love? It may be the very best thing, but also the hardest thing.

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

Holidays are Joyful

“Holidays are joyful There’s always something new! But every day’s a holiday When I’m near to you.”

Holidays are joyful.
Family together, fellowshipping and enjoying one another. Children laughing. Wrapping paper torn off.
But then there is the day after.

Near to You?

Not necessarily the day after Christmas, but very soon, all good things come to an end. Grown children must return to work. Youngsters have school. And so the exodus begins as they make their way home. I am reminded of this as I’ve seen my social media:“Our family is on the move! One is flying back home to SanDiego; Two are on their way to Germany for vacation. Missing them all, blessing them on their way.” 2011

“Definitely a day of the ‘blahs.’ Put one on a train bound for NYC, and then out to SanFran tonight. Seems like he just got here. The times with all of us together were precious. And when he goes back, I feel a pit in my stomach. I know this too will pass. Life will get back to normal. How many other Moms & Dads feel this after the holidays when the kids return to their homes???” 2013

“Typical Monday. Doing wash, putting things away. Except THIS Monday is after Christmas. And one flies home this afternoon. Is it any wonder that it is hard to get motivated? Holiday blues. Or should I say, post family blues???” 2014

Note: when I have posted my “Post Holiday Blues” there is often an outpouring of many feeling the same way.

I Wish you Could See!

“The lights on my tree I wish you could see
I wish it every day. The logs on the fire Fill me with desire To see you and to say:”

But our littles grow up and go on.
College calls.
Or first jobs.
They are full of anticipation, joy, excitement and apprehension. New beginnings!

Empty Nests And of course, our deepest desire is to see them succeed.
Two nieces have launched their littles into careers leaving their homes behind and somewhat “empty.” We are left at home. We become the “Empty Nesters.” How did the years fly by so quickly?

I Wish I Were with You

“I wish you merry Christmas; Happy new year too! I’ve just one wish
On this Christmas eve–I wish I were with you”

Other circumstances separate us.
Bob’s sister died just after the New Year, 2021. So this is a “First Christmas.” Another one has just recently lost her mother.

“Another year without you Mom. Celebrate by dancing among the stars tonight.”

A toddler is undergoing chemotherapy in a hospital in Florida.
There are families that are separated by distance, but also disagreements that happened years ago. Do they even remember what the squabble was all about?

Or differences in opinions on politics, or vaccinations, or you name it. There are elderly in nursing homes, and it may be impossible to visit with them. Many are serving in the Armed Forces, assigned far away. And others whose jobs require distant locales: another country, another Continent.

Cancelled Christmas?

There are so many who expressed the desire to be with family this Christmas, only to have those hopes and dreams dampened by illness—or even potential illness.

“The let down of getting excited to see family and friends and never getting to do that….it’s come and gone and it won’t happen.”

“The let down of cancellations. since we were actually sick it made it bearable.”

“The disappointment of kids getting sick and not coming is sad! But we will get together in Jan. It’s not the day but being together.”

“The Post holiday blues of having been together but it feeling less than ‘normal.’ Testing, masks, Covid talk & fear of giving it or getting it….mentally exhausted!”

“The end of the expectation and the sadness over what didn’t happen.” 

Christmas and Transitions

In this unusual time of Covid and illness, know that your expressions— our expressions of desire to be with those we love is strong and rich and deep.
We all long to be with those we love; it is our common humanity.
Our expectations run high leading up to the holiday. We build up “The Perfect Christmas” in our hearts and minds. (See The Perfect Christmas)
And so our hopes may be dashed at cancellations.
Our disappointments are shared. (See Holiday Ho-Hum)
Though isolated, we are not alone in our struggles and sadness.

Happy New Year Too

The transition is difficult. Getting back to a routine is hard.
Dragging ourselves out of bed this morning seemed harder than the year before.
But it is a New Year and we eagerly anticipate all that is ahead. And maybe Christmas 2022 will be a fuller, richer experience with family and friends close.

“I wish I were with you. Merry Christmas, darling.”

Published by Counseling from a Christian View

Counselor, Teacher, Wife, Mother and Grandmother. It is a privilege to serve God. All my roles have taught me more about God's grace and mercy. And all of life is counseling.

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