This post is in response to the “My Blue Holiday” Open Call.
I’m having a triple-play holiday blues this year!
Holiday Blues #1: In which I lose my job
On Wednesday, December 15 of this year, due to restructuring, I was laid off from my job of eleven years. Sometime in the afternoon, I got called into the HR office and I met with an HR person and my boss. He briefly explained what it was about and then left. Of course, I was reeling in shock, so I had to ask the HR person three times what had just happened, even though, I had a strong feeling it was not going to be good when I was called down to HR.
Once the sound of my blood pounding in my ears quieted down, I asked the HR person two very important questions: “Am I eligible for rehire?” and “Will I be getting a severance package?”. The HR person said yes to both questions.
I was given until Friday to close up any loose ends and clear out my stuff. When I got back to my department, everyone was gathered around my cubicle. All the women were crying. They all gave me a hug and we talked for a few minutes. Everyone had the feeling that one of us was going to be let go, but they were all shocked to learn it was me. Needless to say, I was too. I told them that Thursday was going to be my last day in the office.
Since Thursday was the day we had scheduled our Christmas Holiday Breakfast (we all bring food and have a quick get together in the morning, eat, exchange gifts, go back to work, and graze the rest of the day), one of the girls asked if we should cancel it. I said, “NO!”
When I got home, I told my wife. Luckily, both of us live in the real world, we have known lots of close friends and family members who have gone through the same thing. We then left for my daughter’s Christmas Show. We had a great time!
On Thursday, I went to work, celebrated with my co-workers, gathered my things, said my goodbyes, and left. It was bittersweet.
But Mrs. Trudge, Little Trudgette, and the rest of the clan, will be celebrating Christmas.
Holiday Blues #2: My cousin is dying
I have a cousin who is rapidly dying of cancer. She is in at-home hospice care with her sister. She has a round-the-clock nursing staff looking after her, but she will not recover. A few months ago, she had a hysterectomy done. Sometime later, she went to the hospital for what she thought was a bladder infection. It was cancer. They removed her bladder. They probed some more and a good part of her internal organs are rotted with cancer. She elected not to have any more surgery. I saw her the day before I got laid off. It did not look good. I spoke to her sister the other day, she said her sister can no longer swallow. This means she can’t eat or take most of her meds, and because she is in at-home care, she cannot be administered an IV. So we pray and wait. But we will still celebrate Christmas.
Holiday Blues #3: My Godfather is dying
My uncle (who is also my godfather) is dying of cancer. They have given him weeks, months and possibly one more year to live. So far he has gotten past the months part. He lives in New York so unfortunately, I will not be able to see him before he transcends. In the Eighties, he had a lung removed due to cancer. It was in remission all these years, but finally cancer won out and took over his body. There is nothing that can be done. He is in his eighties. He lived a long hard life. Luckily (?), he has Alzheimer’s so he is not really aware of what is happening. The other day my cousin posted a picture on Facebook of him sitting up and playing with his granddaughter. So we pray and wait. And yes! We will be celebrating Christmas.
So while it will be a Blue Holiday for us, it will not be totally blue, just paler shades of blue. Why?
Christmas is not about the presents under the tree, and how much food we eat, and how we got the best deal on the latest, greatest handy, dandy doo-dad. It is not about having to get together with relatives you hardly see (or like). Christmas is about celebrating the birth of life and eternal hope.*
*At least it is to me.