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Well, here we are again... less than 2 weeks til Christmas. Can you believe it? How did it get here so fast?! I guess I wasn't paying attention or something. Seems like just yesterday it was summer.

Anybody else having trouble getting into the spirit besides me? I mean, my shopping is done, but I simply can't find any enthusiasm for the whole thing this year, and I'm normally a real Christmas person. The only thing I'm looking forward to is some time off work, and that's pretty pathetic. I even skipped the company Christmas party last night.

It seems that this year, everyone I care about is falling apart. My sister had 2 debilitating strokes last month, and they moved her to a nursing home this past week for further rehabilitation. My partner's dr suspects that he may have bladder cancer, but the tests to prove or disprove that aren't scheduled til late January, so that's weighing on me. My brother has blocked arteries in his abdomen that keep the blood from circulating to his legs, which has rendered him nearly crippled. He's facing possible cardio-vascular surgery to try to correct that, but in his case it's extremely risky.

Maybe if I was 80 years old, it would be easier to accept that people wear out and come apart, but I'm 56... too young to lose my brothers and sisters to this kind of crap. And my partner... well, I can't even consider the possibility of losing him. He's being a trooper, and outwardly I'm being optimistic, but I know he's a prime candidate for this kind of cancer, and he has all the symptoms, so I'm holding my breath. Thank goodness for my son. Right now he's the one keeping my world on a semi-normal axis.

I have to admit, this Christmas has taught me something. We've been through Christmases when we were so broke that all our gifts came from the dollar store, but that didn't seem to matter. The season still filled me with that sense of anticipation and excitement that it always has. I guess it's really not all about the gifts and the ho-ho-ho. It's about the people you love. They're the real gifts in your life, and without them to share it with, the rest is just an empty box wrapped in pretty paper. Meaningless.

Well, I didn't mean to go on a whine marathon. I know that things will work out the way they're meant to, and no matter what, life will go on, and we'll keep on going with it. But this Christmas, look around you. Look beyond the gifts, and the decorations, and the pretty facade of the season, to the people who make it special just because you have them to share it with. And, no matter who they are, be grateful, because their presence in your life is the most meaningful gift of all.

Merry Christmas everyone, and above all... peace and love.

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I wish I could reach through this screen and give you a hug!

I am so very sorry for the painful times you are facing right now! The holidays seems to intensify these feelings. I will send good thoughts and energy to you and your family. I wish I had a magic wand to make it all better....life can be so very painful.

My Christmas wish for you is peace and healing for all of your loved ones.

I know you cherish every moment with them.

I wish you peace and love this holiday season too!

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Thanks, guys. (I use that term figuratively ;)) I knew if anyone could help put this into perspective for me, you could, and you didn't let me down. You're the best.

Caliope, I'm so glad your father is recovering. I know that must have been an ordeal for you. My sister is making progress too, although it's slow. I can understand her when she talks now, which I couldn't before, and she can take a few steps at a time now with a walker, which she also wasn't able to do at first. Fortunately, the strokes she had didn't impair her thought processes, so I'm grateful for that, too.

I've been giving it some thought, and you're right. I need to focus on the now, not tomorrow or next year. For now, I have my partner, who makes every day special, my son, who lights up my world, and my brother and sisters, who may be falling apart, but they're still here with me. Nobody has any guarantees of what tomorrow will bring, so I guess I should count my blessings for what I have today.

We put our tree up this weekend, and my partner and I spent some time just goofing off together, which was nice. I know that no matter what happens, even if it turns out to be something bad, we'll see it through together. I feel stronger now than I did when I wrote that post, and I'm even looking forward to Christmas now... something I wasn't before.

pinkydinkydoo, I'm so glad that your son is healthy now. There's nothing more frightening than when something threatens your child, and I'm relieved that your son's story had a happy ending. I'll keep a good thought for you in my heart.

And Shayna, thank you for your kind thoughts. It felt as if you really did reach through the screen and give me a hug, and it helped more than you know.

To all of you, I wish you a Christmas of hope and happiness.

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I'm late, so my pathetic "me too!" doesn't carry much weight, but this part of the season gets me down a bit as well. Two years ago, my grandma died on New Year's Day, and since then Christmas hasn't really been the same. We still go to her house, but there isn't the cohesion that she brought. She was one of those people who brought love into your heart just by being around her. My dad says i'm just like her, so in a way she's still here, but it always makes this part of the year a little bit harder.

I'm sorry for all the illness surrounding you now, Writercll, and i hope your family continues to strengthen. I wish all the rest of you the best possible holiday season.

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