Before the advent of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, my holiday busyness would begin in mid-November. There were holiday meals and treats to prepare. Parties to attend. Gifts to buy. Decorations to drag out, dust off and display. I'd take my children carolling with my church, and we'd put on a play.
All this on top of a hectic and normal life.
Busy? Oh yeah. And I miss it. I remember those days with the usual nostalgic pangs ... and with something more. For us, things didn't run their natural course. They got chopped off. One year, we were celebrating to the hilt. The next year ... we weren't.
Life has changed alot at holiday time, because of CFS. Gone are the rehearsals, the parties, the shopping trips. My children and my husband are my Personal Shoppers. They take my lists and run with them for me.
Where I used to make shortbread, I substitute gifts someone else bought for me to give. I don't visit my parents, they stop by briefly so as not to tire me. The dozens of cards I used to send shrank to two or three.
Most of my kids will celebrate with us. They know I'll disappear to rest. Probably a couple of times, for a half hour, if I've been fairly healthy. If I haven't been, I'll spend an hour or more in bed while they entertain each other.
Meals are simpler, though my husband and children again take up my slack. One year, they prepared dinner while I slept. That was wonderful. And yet, I missed sharing in the chaos, taking part in the whirl of activity.
Instead I'd rest in my room, then take my place in my chair and ... watch. I love that too but you know, it just isn't the same.
I know I'm very lucky compared to many with CFS. Many are bedridden. Some have no home, unable to live inside due to multiple chemical sensitivies.
Many can't spend time with their families due to distance, or because their symptoms are too severe. The families of some have simply fallen away because of their chronic illness.
So yes, I am lucky and I know it. I can be with my understanding family, restricted as that may be.
To all of you feeling the bite of CFS at this season, I send you my heartfelt regards and hope for better health next year.