Sunday 28 December 2014


Reader Keisha writes about how lonely Christmas can feel when you're really not in the mood to celebrate…

Keisha says:
This time last year, it was all so different. Christmas was great… we were all together, Mum, Dad, my big sister Elina and me, and it seemed perfect although with hindsight I can see that it probably wasn't. I remember that Mum was stressed and  Dad was drinking a bit too much, but it was Christmas and it didn't seem like a big deal. We were all together. That was what mattered.

In the months that followed, Mum and Dad began to argue. Mum stayed out a lot and Dad was drinking and often, late at night, they'd row. My sister was away at uni so I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. I didn't mention it at school because I thought my friends would feel sorry for me and I didn't want that. So I kept it to myself and in the summer holidays they split up. It turned out that Mum had been seeing another man. She blamed Dad and said she was sick of his drinking, but Dad said he was only drinking because Mum didn't love him anymore. It ended really badly. Mum left and we stayed with Dad, and again, I told nobody. I suppose by then I was ashamed… Dad's drinking was out of control.

So yeah… Christmas. Dad lost his job because of the drinking, and he got very ill… he's been in hospital with something wrong with his liver for almost ten days now. My sister hasn't come home at all, because like Mum, she blames Dad's drinking for what happened; she's really angry with him. She's gone to stay with her boyfriend's family and all I got from her was a phone call on Christmas Day. I'm staying at Mum's flat and trying not to hate her new boyfriend, but I do hate him, I can't help it. If he hadn't come along Mum and Dad might have stuck together and Dad might not have got so ill. Maybe. All I know is, this is the worst Christmas I have ever had. The one thing I want more than anything else is the one thing I cannot have. To turn the clock back, to when we were still a family… to before it all went wrong…

Names have been changed to protect the writer's identity. Pic posed by model Caitlin.

Cathy says:
Christmas is a lonely and difficult time for lots of people, for all kinds of reasons. Have YOU ever been through a family split, or struggled through a particularly painful Christmas? COMMENT BELOW to share your advice/ experiences with Keisha.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Keisha. I'm sorry you had such a totally rubbish Christmas. My parents split up when I was about 10yrs old (I'm 40 now) and they had their big 'splitting up' row (where my mum, and all of us, found out about my dad's girlfriend) on Christmas day. Reading your post brought me right back to that time. Obviously lots of thngs were different for me but it is so shocking to find out that your parents have behaved so poorly and I felt for ages like my dad just couldn't have cared very much about me if he was willing to split up our whole family for this woman. It was so painful that I remember feeling like it would be easier if he had died rather than willingly left us. I eventually forgave him (and his new wife, whom I also hated for ages). It doesn't mean that I think he did the right thing, but I can now see that he might not have been entirely to blame for everything, and that he is human and humans do stupid things sometimes. It did take a long time though, so don't feel guilty about your feelings- you're allowed to be really angry about all this.

    Anyway, that's part of my story, but I wanted to say a few things which may or may not be helpful. The first thing is that this all does get better. You will eventually enjoy Christmas again. It seems like a stupid thing to say- but hang in there. The second is that there are things you can do to help yourself. Things I really wish I had done, because if I had it wouldn't have taken so long to get to a place of peace. And the main thing that I wish I had done was to talk to someone. A friend, or an adult like a teacher, or a total stranger like someone on the Childline helpline... anyone really. But I didn't. I bottle everything up for years and years and never spoke to a soul and it made me really depressed. When I finally did talk to someone I was surprised at how much difference it made- a huge weight was lifted. I could still be annoyed and sad about what had happened but I didn't have to feel depressed and lonely any more, because someone else sharing my pain. Other things you can do are to try and keep going out with friends, try to keep up with the things you love doing (for me it was art and music)- those things can become something that will never leave you- a constant support (we need other humans, but we also need ourselves). You are very good at expressing how you feel in writing- keep on doing that, it really does help.

    I really hope that this is a better year for you. Christmas heightens every emotion- if you're sad then Christmas makes it sadder, if you're happy then Christmas makes it happier. But at the end of the day it's only a day or two and then life continues... we can't turn back the clock but I really believe that no matter how bad things are there will be a day when you're really glad that things kept on moving forward. Hang in there! xxxx



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