The holidays are always rough for me. Yes, it’s a time to be introspective, retrospective and take stock of a year gone by way too quickly and weigh both losses and gains, accomplishments and setbacks.

Perhaps it’s just me as I edge closer to 60, but it’s been a years filled with losses of friends I hold dear and those on the periphery. I can well deal with the occasional loss because after all, that is part of life. And life goes on, regardless of what we do and where the prevailing wind blows in the nation’s capitol.

Still, in recent months, there has been a number of friends and close acquaintances that have been lost suddenly, unexpectedly, and not all to the specter of death.

I’m not going to name them all because it will just reinforce my present level of malaise, but I’m feeling all the more empty because of it. Most knew just how I cared for them and what they meant to me before death took them. Some, very much alive, knew how much I cherished them and drifted off anyway, overwhelmed by personal issues, depression and the anxiety and angst that comes from trying to cope with life and succumbing to overwhelming pressures, paranoia and the wall of stone and mortar they erect borne of their insecurities.

I know that for me, it was the latter that brought me the most sorrow, all the more because the life they lead evolves and changes and their pulling away makes it all the more difficult for them to change course and embrace friendship or a loving and cherished bond. Sorrow and anxiety are retched things that can eat away at our souls but only if we let them. For those friends who have pulled away, I feel sorrow all the more yet it is a needless void. For them, they seem to have entered a realm of quite desperation and I as a friend and cohort, or even more, I feel powerless to bring about change or even console them in their anguish.

Of course losing you father on Christmas Day many years back does not help lift the holiday malaise. I do miss him terribly but his life lessons are always with me, whether I am profoundly aware of them or not. Two weeks ago, I did not feel his hand on my shoulder and yet today, at this moment, I feel it there and all the more comforting. A special thanks to all those souls, living and past, who have stood by me, encouraged me through words, deeds and a warm embrace. It is not something ever lost to me.

Time to return to writing and to write well.

A new quote, now put to pen and ink and placard before me where I can study and appreciate it all the more daily:

“Writing well is impossibly difficult and the time to work is shorter all the time and if you waste it you feel you have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness.”

 Ernest Hemingway

Time to move forward in trying times to come, but we set our own course regardless of the prevailing winds.

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