It has been a while since I have written a blog as I was focused on getting my book finished and self published. Which I have done. Now I will look to find a traditional agent and/or publisher. And I will write another book. Then another. And meanwhile, I will resume my blog.
I have decided to depart from the format I was using previously for this post. Thoughts and opinions on the change are welcome and invited.
With no further adieu:
From Wikipedia: December was originally the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February. It gets its name from the Latin word “decem” which means tenth. However, when the Romans added January and February to the calendar, it became the twelfth month. The name remained the same however.
That definition is to the point, and describes the history of the word. Yet it does not touch the emotion of the month in the slightest.
For most it is a time of joy. Some find comfort and joy in the sentiment of the season as well as the ritual and spiritual origin of it. Some just enjoy the good tidings to all and dreams of sugar plums dancing in their heads.
I spent many happy seasons, wearing a Santa hat from the 1st through the 31st and spreading joy and cheer, many a 12th month counting down the days until I gave a present to someone particular or got one from them. Mistletoe was an excuse to kiss and a greeting at the door an excuse to hug. I couldn’t wait to find out whose name I drew or who would make it from out of town. December was a joyous time for me. I awaited its arrival, anxiously, for eleven months a year.
Fast forward a few years. Endure the following, annually, in December:
- My mother passed away, abruptly, decades ahead of her time on December 22nd in the early hours of the morning
- A little more than one year later, my wife of 10+ years, mother of two children, decided that I wasn’t good enough and neither was our life (in the end this was a good thing for the kids and I, but a hard hit to my esteem initially and a hurdle the kids still struggle to overcome) and declared this to me on the weekend following Christmas
- Two years after that, in December, my grandmother passed away (after a long and full life, but I was very close to her
- And then we arrive at this year, no traumatic events save the fact that in July I filed for temporary emergency custody and any extra money I would’ve had has gone to the attorney or taking care of the kids (since no help has been given in the way of groceries, clothing or money since I got the custody order) and if I do not receive a bonus this year, it is likely to be the smallest Christmas my children have ever seen. While winning temporary custody is no doubt worth every sacrifice I have had or will have to make, it has not alleviated any of the weight I have come to carry in this last month of the year.
I have come to realize that the root of December, decem, is tied to another word that describes my emotions this time of year. I think for a reason. Some believe in the power of numbers, I believe in the power of words. Some believe there are underlying connections we never see unless we look carefully and I would agree. Let’s examine the word I speak of now:
transitive verb ˈde-sə-ˌmāt
: to severely damage or destroy a large part of (something)
Origin of DECIMATE
This is what December has done to me, or at least how it feels. So much of my heart has broken off, shriveled and died at this time of year. It feels like more, but a tenth at a time is probably about right.
Add in the latin root ber, which means to carry, as in bear, berth or burden, and you have described this month for me. Destroy a tenth of me and then ask me to carry that pain, along with any other burdens, and that aptly describes the twelfth month for me, at least in recent memory.
On the bright side I see light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that next December will be a good one. I continue to believe that every year. So perhaps, the spirit of the season that I have felt was dying these many years in fact lives on and stays strong. I know I will struggle this December as I did the last but I have high hopes for the next one. And I will give you well wishes if I run into you. Remember though that I am not every man and someone who doesn’t wish you well or seems to have great weight upon them this time of year may actually have a broken heart or burdens much heavier than mine. Wish them well. No matter how they respond, it might be the brightest moment of their day.
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy winter solstice. What ever you choose to celebrate; may it be a happier, merrier and an all around better December than the last. That’s what I keep hoping for so that’s my hope for others as well.