Jewish Journal

‘Tis The Season

by Mihal Levy

November 20, 2009 | 2:30 pm

Tinsel is hung earlier and earlier each year.  Now, even before Thanksgiving we prepare for “the holidays.”  Eventually, people will be stringing lights and frying up latkes in June to prepare.  But, not everyone is frolicking in the holiday fun or mass conspiracy to shop-shop-shop-‘til-you-drop.

This time of year is anything but “fa la las” for me, or a time of miracles.  Ten years ago at this time, while shoppers scurried frantically through malls to find the perfect wooly socks or kitschy gift, my mind was somewhere else and it has stayed that way for the past ten years.  During this oh so joyful time, I lost my father.

Just like a Pavlovian response, when I hear holiday songs on the radio (including ONE Hanukkah song by Adam Sandler), I am reminded.  “Sleighbells ring are you listening?”  No, I am not.  “Grab your harmonica, it’s time for…”  No!  Maybe if they just stopped playing those songs, it wouldn’t trigger memories.  And could the malls please go easy on the display of in-your-face holiday decorations?  These things would probably help…a little.  And why must they start all the hoopla so early in the season?  I know it sells more.  But won’t everyone be sick of the holidays by the time they come around?  Besides, it gets me all worked up for much longer.

Hanukkah is almost here, my father is still dead, ten years later.  Sometimes I feel as though he will come back.  Not in an eerie, resurrection, wake-from-the-dead kind of way, but simply because he has been “away” for some time and will just show up at my door.  We would take off where we left off.  Then reality kicks in (or a proposed notion of schizophrenia), so I stop myself from thinking this and snap out of it.  He’s gone.  Still gone, forever.

This time of year only makes it that much more difficult.  You would think after ten years, it would get easier, but it seems to grow more difficult.  Especially after having a child and being aware of the fact that my father will never get the chance to meet his grandson (and granddaughter; my brother’s daughter).  My son will never know what it is like to have a special grandfather, who was genuine, gave without taking, who loved unconditionally and dreamt of meeting his grandson while I was hitting puberty, pulling my puffy socks over my stirrupped leggings and following the latest 80’s rock band, thinking of anything and everything but marriage and children.  My father was already dreaming of becoming a grandfather, but never had the chance.

‘Tis definitely the season.  The season of sadness, remembrance and sorrow…for me anyway.

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Mihal Levy used to collect degrees as a hobby.  After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, she worked as a psychotherapist and research scientist before continuing her hobby of...

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