Celebrating Amy

October 23, 2003

I haven’t been posting much here lately. I’d like to think that meant I was doing great in all things and that I didn’t need a place to vent. However, I suspect that my seasonal depression is starting; I have felt flat and tired more than not lately.

A week or so ago Michele remarked on this, saying something to the effect of “you are going into your annual depression.” I remember bristling at her statement, a sure sign it was a truth I didn’t want to hear or face. Yuck.

Every fall I say that I am not going to fall into the same old pattern of depression that has plagued me for most of my life. And every fall there comes a day when I realize, and can admit, that I have slipped into depression in spite of myself. I know that in recent years my low point hasn’t been as depressed, that I am less depressed overall. Still I’d like to go through a holiday season without feeling like a tired old man.

Somethings are helping; my employment situation is stable once again. My relationship with my brother is at an all-time high, and my relationship with my parents is also doing better than ever before. Thanks to the beautiful soul I married I am now looking forward to Christmas. We decorate the house, and have fun wrapping presents and watching old Christmas movies. She has shown me the joy and wonder that is the true spirit of the season.

And I am better at taking care of my inner child, who was so hurt and confused all those years ago when Amy died. There is a small piece of him that is still selfishly angry about the lack of Christmas that year. Instead of fighting his anger I now know to express in it positive ways. By opening myself up to those ancient emotional memories I am able to move past them and develop new, happier memories of Christmas.

This year will be a challenge to me as it will be the first Christmas I’ve spent with my family in several years. The work I have done to change the holiday from a time of mourning to a time of joy will be put to the test. Even though Amy will have been dead 30 years this Christmas, the lack of open emotional expression by my family, as a family, still casts a pall on the day.

I have grieved for Amy and mourned her loss time and again. I’ve expressed the anger I had at her for dying, and at my family for not understanding my turmoil over her death. And I have forgiven myself for surviving when she did not. Now I need to truly celebrate her living and her memory by letting the joy and love of the Christmas season into my heart once again. When I can do that I will regain a connection to her that I have been missing for such a long time.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.