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I never really understood how anyone could hate Christmas. It was always something I'd looked forward to all year. It was the crown jewel of the calendar.
"How could someone be blue on x-mas? They must enjoy being miserable," I thought. Then, as I got older, and Christmas seemed to come a whole lot quicker, I began to get an inkling of why some people might not be jolly on this jolliest of days. I never actually experienced the x-mas blues myself until the Christmas of 2000.

In late November, I'd received a call that woke me up around 9:00 AM. It was my aunt from NYC. She told me that Brian, my fifteen year-old cousin, had passed away earlier that morning. She told me to start packing, as I'd be flying out to NY sometime in the next twenty-four hours. The next two weeks were a blur of crying, traveling, and stunned numbness. When I got back home, I was thrown into the torrent of the holiday shopping season at work, and I was so busy, I had no time to really lick my wounds. I threw myself into my work completely, staying there for fourteen hours a day, hiding from it all.

The world seemed so full of irony. Every Christmas song I heard sounded utterly ridiculous, almost sickeningly so. They haunted me like vengeful spirits. Everyone's joviality made my murky sadness stand out in stark contrast.

It's really awful to be depressed or grieving around Christmas. My friends at work tried to be supportive, but they began to avoid me; I made them uncomfortable, I was too sad. I can't imagine how they would have treated me if I had been afflicted with run-of-the-mill depression. I had a "reason" to be sad, so they tolerated my uncomfortable silence and deep-sunk eyes.

Christmas day itself was mirthless. My mom and I tried to have as normal a Christmas as we could, but all I could think about was how meaningless it all was. The only present I wanted was to have my cousin back, and I found myself harboring insane thoughts of opening a big box and seeing him inside, alive and well. The day passed quietly. I did have some moments of happiness, though they were followed by pangs of guilt for being happy.

I eventually found my way out of that gray haze as things calmed down at work and I gave myself time to really grieve, to cry, to accept. I met someone who made me leave my house, made me realize I was still alive and owed it to Brian to use the life I had. He was my earth angel, and Brian, my heavenly angel.

As I write this, the holiday season has just begun again. While I miss Brian, and while so many horrible things have happened this year, I find myself at peace, able to laugh at the nonsense and madness of the shopping rush, and humming along to the x-mas carols.

Before last year, I never really understood that we all see the world through our own set of colored glasses; that what's red and green to most can be blue for some.

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