The Hope Christmas Lights Bring Me Despite My Chronic Illness

I sit here in my apartment working on homework as finals are quickly approaching, but I take a moment and look at the Christmas lights I recently put up with my roommate. All I can think of is hope and stillness as I look around. Why can’t it be Christmas all year around?

As soon as the decorations come out and are put up on Thanksgiving, a shift in the atmosphere happens around me. My mood becomes lighter, and I feel a sense of hope. I became more appreciative of traditions and the little moments around this time of year, especially after the passing of my mother in November of 2015 due to a heart defect caused by rheumatic fever when she was younger. Thanksgiving of that year was spent planning her funeral, and there is a melancholic atmosphere around my family during that time of the year now, but instead of sitting around, I have become more active in keeping her memory alive through the holidays by decorating like she would, listening to Christmas music (which started back in August, to be honest, but holiday music, in general, is wonderful!), watching movies, and most importantly: bringing good cheer to everyone she was around.

I also have become more appreciative of this season ever since developing a chronic illness. There is so much going on in this world now, and there is so much going on in my life with the added stress of illness, but the simple atmosphere that lights and decorations bring to a room is amazing. I feel as if my apartment has become more homey than it already is, and my home away from college feels the same with all the decorations up.

Besides the decorations, the simple act of being with one another and feeling connected brings hope. For some reason, it feels as if everyone becomes closer to one another during this season, and there is this overwhelming sense of giving and wanting to warm hearts that gives me hope. I feel more at peace during this time despite my health challenges and having to undergo more testing because I am constantly hearing and seeing others helping and giving to one another, as well as using my own gifts to give back in my own creative way.

I wanted to share this short thought process because it is easy to fall deeper and deeper into the hole of loneliness, hopelessness, etc. I have personally been struggling with it and still do, but the simple and little things — such as sitting in a room with only Christmas lights and music playing in the background — seem to have the biggest effect.

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