|Handmade wreath by my sister-in-law Janet|
Amidst all the fun and frivolity that accompanies Christmas I have to be honest and admit that it's not my favourite time of year. I haven't had a tough life by any means but it does seem that throughout my adult life, the difficult periods have always fallen around this time of year and for me, like many others, old wounds can sometimes open up a little in this season of remembrance.
Ten years ago I spent Christmas morning with my dad visiting my mum in hospital where she'd been for the previous two months following heart surgery and where my dad had been every day since. I was also in the process of changing jobs and relocating to another part of the country so was pretty stressed myself. We returned to my parents home in the afternoon and I cooked Christmas lunch while my exhausted dad dozed in a chair. My mum never left hospital and after contracting a respiratory infection and MRSA died a month later.
The following year I moved into a brand new house (where I still live) five days prior to Christmas and my dad came to spend it with me - both of us glad to have so much to distract us with all the things that needed doing to make the house a home. Before the Christmas after that I had lost my dad as well.
|My lovely mum and dad at a Christmas party about 50 years ago!|
Don't get me wrong - I don't spend the festive season in a miserable fug... I join in with the fun with friends and family and am thankful for the the good times. But I'm always a little relieved when it's over, normality resumes and I can get on with life in my usual positive manner. Ten years may seem like a long time but when you accumulate such events over a long period of time you develop mechanisms to cope with Christmas but not necessarily to embrace it as fully as others.
I can empathise with other people when they say they don't like Christmas because it's all too easy to dismiss the sentiment with a throwaway comment like 'Bah humbug!' But we don't always know what other people have been through and how Christmas affects them. Emotions are heightened at this time of year and it can be really overwhelming when you feel out of kilter with the rest of the planet, so a little understanding and a hug can go a long way.
That said, I'm now off to continue with my preparations and do some things that make me smile. The lovely wreath my sister-in-law made me is on the front door, the tree will go up this evening and I have a pile of cards to deliver by hand. It's very chilly here today so I think some wine mulling may be in order too...
I hope you are all well on the way with your preparations and that those of you who need to, can find the time and space to reflect and remember.