It's after 11pm on 25 December 2023 as I write this blog post. Christmas is full of expectations and triggers. I spent Christmas on my own but not completely alone. I didn't meet up with family.
The family in the household I am now flatting with are new to living in New Zealand and don't celebrate Christmas. They were surprised I didn't go to church. I am not religious, after being raised Christian. I won't go into all the reasons here why Christmas can be so triggering but one reason is grief.
I have a few weeks off work. I slept in today. Then, after having something to eat (something simple), I went for a walk. It was a muggy day and I was risking getting rained on.
I was listening to an instrumental piece, 'Farewell' by Bernth, only the second time I had heard it. I felt overwhelmed by emotion, to the point of nearly having a panic attack. I hadn't had the space to grieve really, since my Dad died in September. He was nearly 82.
I only listened to instrumental music today. It can be so expressive, without words. My first Christmas without Dad. Linked to other triggers. Such as going to a friend's funeral on Christmas Eve, 24 years ago.
Colour, nature and music help me to cope. Recently, I did a few paintings. I did the kaka (New Zealand parrot) to distract from an ugly fence (view outside my window). Then, the dot painting that I called Starfish.
The most recent was an abstract to seal one of my late Dad's jigsaw puzzle boards, to use as a painting surface when I do some small dot paintings. I ended up quite liking it, and have called it Wildflowers.
Incidently, my Dad is the only person I have known to line up jigsaw puzzle pieces. I took the pic a below a few years ago. Dad with his puzzle, his cat and eating ice-cream. In the house he built.
Dad loved the outdoors. The pic below was when I went ziplining with him and my son. Dad was in his seventies!
I went to a place today where Dad liked to go. Where my last photo with him was taken a year ago. Everything looked extra green after rain.
I need a lot of alone time. I was wished a Merry Christmas by some family and friends via distance. Staying connected online helps a lot.
I spent most of the day in hibernation.
Yesterday, I bought some crayons for the child in the household (as the family don't celebrate Christmas, I figured it would be a way of not being officially for Christmas).
English is not this family's first language. I did some drawing with the young child who called me 'Xanthe Aunty' today (not promoted by anyone).
I listened to instrumental music again, writing this. I might compile the pieces I liked into an instrumental playlist.
I sent a painting as a gift to a disabled friend in the USA. She let me know it arrived just before Christmas and loves it. I don't usually sent paintings overseas (because of the cost of shipping and risk of damage). She said it will be her only gift these holidays.
Some people are on their own at Christmas, for whatever reason. It can be a sad time. For me, it was mainly contemplative.
I finished this post just before midnight (New Zealand time). It's now Christmas morning in other parts of the world, including the USA.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.