Have Holidays Changed For Me?

As some of you might have noticed, I shared a post about how I feel about St. Valentine’s Day. With this post, I’d like to change the subject to share how my journey has affected my feelings about holidays in general.

I’ve been out of the hospital almost four months and have experienced a number of holidays.

My journey has affected my view of holidays. In the past, holidays were a chance to eat way to much food, enjoy spending time with family and friends, and generally have a good time.

Covid has changed the way we celebrate holidays, so we are limited to Zoom and phone calls. Yet, holidays have become important to me. Holidays are an opportunity to celebrate and reflect.

At this point, I am limited by what I can physically and mentally take on. My condition along with the restrictions for COVID has afforded me the opportunity to be reflective.

As I reflect on holidays, I have a new perspective. Holidays have come to have a special meaning to me. In late September, I thought I had seen my last holiday.

At that time, I wasn’t sure what would happen. At that point, we knew a new heart was necessary for me to continue to live. When I was woken up by the EKG tech coming in at 4 AM, I was thankful that I was starting another day. At the time, I just wanted to make it Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas…..

Five months later, my perspective has morphed from holidays being milestones to one of considering the “why” behind holidays. When you start taking into account the “why” behind holidays, you can’t help but start to think differently.

In the past, Thanksgiving to me (and many others) was a day to eat way too much food watch football and fall asleep on the couch. This past Thanksgiving, I was thankful for the doctors, nurses, and therapists who made it possible for me to celebrate Thanksgiving.

As Christmas approached, I started thinking about the logistics of getting Christmas presents where they needed to be. We were sending a couple of packages to Scotland. Talk about complicated. When Christmas finally came around, I enjoyed the holiday as best we could. Making phone calls, text, and zoom, we reached out to share the day. With just two of us, we made some of our holiday favorites making the best of the day. The time we spent connecting with family took on a special meaning. I realized that there may not be the next time for me. My future is not given, and that provides clarity: I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, so be mindful and be in the moment.

Valentine’s Day to me was about not only love but also an opportunity to tell my wife how much I appreciate her and what she has done for me. Some of my friends refer to her as Saint Tina for putting up with me all these years. You can check it out here.

Holidays have a new meaning for me. I don’t take holidays for granted, and I am going to be present and mindful. I am not going to jump up on a soapbox and tell you how you should feel. I will leave with one question: How do you feel about holidays?

I share this with you in the hope that you will reflect on what holidays mean to you.

Thanks for reading this post.

Chris

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