The year: 1881.
The month: May.
The place: DeSmet, SD.
That was the year of endless blizzards. The year the people of DeSmet nearly starved and froze to death. The year that train after train tried to reach DeSmet with desperately needed supplies, only to stall in snowdrifts so high and so hard that no amount of steam power could blast a path to the tiny town.
And so it was that all those supplies stayed neatly frozen in the stalled trains until the snow finally melted in May.
Sure, the people of DeSmet could've raised their fists to Heaven and railed against God but they didn't. In May of 1881, as they sat down to the first proper meal they'd enjoyed since Autumn (complete with butter!!!), on their lips was only gratitude. Pa Ingalls expressed it best when he said simply, “Lord, we thank Thee for all Thy bounty.” Laura observes, "That was all Pa said, but it seemed to say everything."
This year we too say from our hearts, “Lord, we thank Thee for all Thy bounty.”
Being alone never feels quite so acute as it does on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whether you're alone-alone or alone-with-your-spouse, it's painful to see all those staged Facebook photos and imagine everyone else feasting, chatting and actually enjoying spending time with their big, happy families when your home is so quiet, by fate or by choice.
I know exactly how you feel. For 20+ years, my family's holidays were Norman Rockwell's Freedom from Want on steroids. Picture perfect. Everyone acting like they actually liked each other.
But sometimes the quietest family member is the only one holding the family together. When Grandpa quietly died in 2000, well, truth-will-out. My uncle finally got to kick his sister (my mom) to the curb. One thing led to another and today Michael and I find ourselves alone together each holiday...because we won't put up with the toxic, personality disordered, pathological lying and abuse of our families by birth/by law anymore. Not even for one miserable holiday.
Even though we have each other, there's still a feeling of aloneness that hurts acutely at holiday times and there are probably millions of people worldwide in the same boat.
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