For the first time, I didn't receive a Christmas card from my mother.
I'm not sure if that's a curse or a blessing.
You see, 20 years ago I told the biggest lie of my life. It was on a cold, mid-December night, a short time after the death of my father. My mother became ill and spent the next year in and out of hospital, bouncing between excruciating pain and short-lived moments of comfort. On this night, upon returning home, I found my mother in immeasurable pain.
Days prior she had been released from the hospital. My spirits soared.
It was now crystal clear that she had to return. While helping her to my car we stopped briefly on the steps of our home and with tear-filled eyes she said: "I'm never going to be home again. Am I?"
I wanted to burst into tears. Instead, I looked into her eyes and responded in an effort to comfort: "Of course you will."
Less than a week later I watched her die.
Magically in October 2003, my mother and father came back to life. While in the process of renewing my Birth Certificate, a civil servant informed me that they couldn't reissue it. Apparently the information I gave didn't match my birth records.
"Could you phone your parents and ask them who your real parents are?"
In this instant, everything about "me" changed. Aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters all became something else. I had been lied to my whole life.
I found out who my real parents are. Not good news.
It turns out my birth mother has always been inconspicuously present in my life. Playing another role. Every year she sends an emotionless, non-descript Christmas card.
I've known the truth for two years. The rest of my family has known I know for over a year. Upon finding out they cut all contact with me. I'm no longer the baby brother - the youngest of seven.
They've left me alone to try to figure out……everything.
Why share this?
Christmas is meant to be a celebration of life. A time of joy and happiness.
We sometimes lose sight of that. Society is plagued by stress and blinded by its consumer craze during the "Silly Season". We forget that this time of year transports some to a very dark lonely place. Christmas is anything but merry.
So, please remember to love, support and cherish your family and friends. Because, everything can change in a heartbeat.
And, be kind to others. Christmas reminds many of what they don't have and a smile from a stranger may help to reduce the loneliness.
I know, I became ‘alone' in a heartbeat.
Lindsay Wincherauk is a freelance writer and author of the book: Seed's Sketchy Relationship Theories - A Guide to the Perils of Dating (How not to become a bar regular).
For more information please visit: http://www.seedenterprises.com