The New 60: Melancholic Holidays
BY Robert Levithan
December 06 2010 1:45 PM ET
Fucking Holidays! I have never been a bah-humbugger, but this year I realized that something had changed. I was surprisingly melancholic: Why? I was childless (not new), parentless (not new), and partnerless (new). I have begun to notice that when childless, single clients of a certain age lose their last parent, there is often a seismic shift in their world. Not everyone feels these things. I hadn’t expected to be one who does. Wrong again. I feel somewhat unmoored. Siblings and nieces and nephews and friends fill the void, but there is still that biological/karmic hole, no blood relation immediately above or below.
My father, the amazing Lou, died just before Thanksgiving five years ago. My brothers and my extended family have been ever-present, before and after. However, this was my first Thanksgiving without my ex. In the past, we had trekked to Jersey, the Upper West Side, Salt Lake City. This year he was working and I was with a delightful gathering of friends in Brooklyn. I missed him ... I missed us.
My mood wasn’t helped by Thanksgiving being the anniversary of the death of a beloved once-upon-a-time lover, or that my ex’s aunt who died mysteriously this past summer always hosted Thanksgiving (we went to her before going to my family). Loss. Getting older does include continuing losses.
In the last year, a new grandniece was born, two of my nieces have been engaged, and there is a grandnephew in utero. Gains!
I have written about being newly single. I do expect to have another partner and all that that will bring. Being childless is a bigger issue I realize, as it is not something that is likely to change.
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