Mince Pies and Teary Eyes
I thought long and hard about writing this post for two reasons:
It's opening myself up to feelings so personal to me, and the last thing I want is for anybody to think I'm trying to spoil their fun. This is not my intention at all.
Now that December is here, many of us are looking forward to a fun-filled festive season. Yet a lot of people are dreading it. It's a time to be with family and loved ones, but if you've lost somebody close to you how do you cope? There will be a neighbour, colleague, friend or someone you pass regularly who will be facing the first Christmas without their loved one. Two ladies I know are in this very situation. One, an elderly neighbour lost her husband earlier in the year. Although he'd been ill for some time, nothing could really have prepared her for how lonely she would feel without him. She has family but they don't seem to bother with her much. Her life consists of sitting at her window and watching the world go by. Christmas will be tough for her. She can't remember one without him.
The other lady is young. Her husband went to work one day and she never saw him alive again. All her hopes and dreams for the future snatched away. She got a dog for company and to give herself a focus. She's going to help the homeless on Christmas day, which is great. Nothing will take away her pain though. How could it? Both of these ladies appreciate a few minutes of my time. I'm really busy, but it means so much to them. It's hard to know what to say, but it's enough that I'm prepared to listen if they want to talk. Or just to tell them that I'm thinking of them.
The last Christmas I truly enjoyed was 2008. The last one with my mum. She passed away on the 6th December 2009. The funeral was two weeks before Christmas and just a few days before my sister's birthday. Somehow or another we managed to hold it together enough to be able to give my daughter and her son a Christmas with the usual presents and nice food. But obviously things would never be the same again. I'd lived with my mum for the last few happy years of her life. We loved Christmas. Our decorations were always up early and we adored having days out to buy gifts. My sister and her family lived five minutes away so we spent the day together.
For the next couple of years we continued to keep things as they'd always been. Well, as much as possible. Then I moved 200 miles away to be with my (now) husband. Christmas was now a bigger problem than ever.
Christmas Eve involved me travelling the 200 miles to be with my sister, and my daughter, who lives in York met me there. Christmas day, I went to York with my daughter, where my husband would pick me up. Five hours driving for him, and no relaxation time for us. He couldn't spend Christmas up north with me as his daughter is still quite young, and he spends Christmas Eve with her.
This year, for the first time in 49 years, I will not be in Whitby for Christmas. My husband and I got married in June and I promised to stay at home with him this year. I'm happy with this decision but it will be strange. It's time to make a new kind of Christmas though. We're all going to be meeting up and staying in York the weekend before which will be lovely. Then my daughter and her partner are coming to stay with us the weekend after. It'll be really nice. But, try as I might, this time of year upsets me. I can be in town and something will set me off. It could be seeing cards that I want to buy but can't, or hearing carols playing. It doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing, I feel so sad. This weekend I spent half of it in tears. I promised myself I would make more of an effort to enjoy the run -up to Christmas and I meant it, but you cannot help how you feel. If we could, we'd all be happy all of the time. It brings back such horrible memories and I do not know if it will ever get any easier. I hope so!
If you are still reading this thank you. You know, it's helped me to write it all down. I hope to report that I did have a lovely Christmas. I've always known that's what my mum would want. And my husband deserves a happy first Christmas of being married.
If you see anyone who doesn't seem to be getting into the festive spirit, they aren't miserable for the sake of it. They will have a good reason. Maybe they would appreciate you asking them if they are ok?
Once again, thanks for bearing with me.
Have a fabulous Christmas and I'll catch up with you in the New Year.
Love Pippa x
PS...If anyone is feeling down, you can always talk to me...