Maybe Next Year

It's that time of year again. The holiday season. It's a time of thanksgiving, rejoicing, celebration. On the heels of Thanksgiving are Christmas, Hanukah and New Year's. But what if I'm not thankful and don't want to celebrate? What if I am sadder than I have ever been? What if I am (mad), (mad) as hell? And what if I feel guilty -- guilty for living when someone I loved died, guilty for failing them? What if I feel guilty because I'm relieved -- that it's finally over?

Is there still a place at the table for me?

What if I don't want to bow my head and give thanks this year? What if I don't want to be with lots of people? What if I just want to sit and say nothing? What if the only present I want is the one I can't have, my loved one back with me?

Will there still be a place at the table for me?

What if I don't feel like eating? What if the thought of food makes me gag? What if the sight of pumpkin pie or eggnog makes me cry? What if I don't care who gets the bigger half of the drumstick? What if I don't want Grandma's fruitcake?

Will there still be a place at the table for me?

What if I don't have my hair right or just come in jeans and my loved one's favorite shirt? What if I don't care about dressing up this year or what everyone else has on?

Will there still be a place at the table for me?

What if I cry uncontrollably or laugh when I shouldn't? What if I slobber all over your shirt? What if I don't want a hug? What if I avoid the mistletoe and can't sing Auld Lang Syne this year? What if I am not the way I used to be?  

Will there still be a place at the table for me?

I'm not too sure about myself anymore. But please save a place for me at the table this year.

Perhaps I'll be more like me next year.

Deb Kosmer, bereavement support coordinator, Affinity Visiting Nurses Hospice, Neenah, Wis.

Submitted by Myrna Kober, Hospice at Hays Medical Center.