Survive a blue Christmas

I feel lucky to have met a kindred spirit. We, like many others, must live through a blue Christmas.

S. lives in Adelaide. Her 31-year-old son died in October.

I’d never met her before, but when I saw on Facebook that she would be in the area with a bicycle, I offered to pedal the nearby Shiraz Trail cycling path with her.

It’s an old railway bed that’s been converted into a paved bike and walking trail. There are many wineries nearby. Unfortunately and as I’ve found in the past, the winery we aimed for was closed and two others were about to close.

No worries. We aimed for a café in McLaren Vale town, ordered pizza and wine, and shared our sentiments about Christmas.

S. has the support of her family and spirit community and so she seems to be doing okay. She has a lot of wisdom and is taking things moment-by-moment, day-by-day.

“You are free”

Me, it’s been thirteen years since my boyfriend P.H. chose to kill himself. His birthday was December 23 and he started feeling low around this time of the year. Like S., I had to learn how to live again, minute by minute. I had to tolerate the months, weeks, days leading up to Christmas.

The dead joy of Christmas.

To survive, I learned that I can mostly escape it by flying to foreign countries. It started with Baja, Mexico, then led to winters in India, France, and this year—Australia.

Being a writer and blogger, I also shared my story in a blog called You Are Free – your suicide, my story, in 20 parts. It felt right, and I wanted other people to know that they’re not alone when they, we, feel sad with the world.

S. and I talked about all this openly and honestly, and it felt like a blessing.

I had planned to attend the Willunga Uniting Church‘s Blue Christmas service on December 21. But having met S. I feel the peace and companionship I might have found at that gathering. Nonetheless, I feel grateful that this little village church would do such a kind thing as to call a service for those of us who face a blue Christmas.

Wild flowers and thistles at the side of the Shiraz bike trail in South Australia.
Wild flowers and thistles at the side of the Shiraz bike trail. You don’t have to believe in God to see the tiny bits of beauty all around.