As Christmas approaches, I swing wildly between excitement and a sort of panic. There’s so much to plan and do and sort out it hardly seems like a holiday at all sometimes. And behind it all, the wrenching pain of grief lurks in the background.
Memories of Christmases long gone surface in my head without warning – at the shops, in the pub, at work. I remember how my grandmother used to take me to help her buy food to put in a hamper for my family at Christmas. I remember borrowing her kitchen to make mince pies when ours had an extension being built and was unusable. I remember getting her gifts – boxes of Cadbury Milk Tray, the big bottles of soap that she liked, dvds of her favourite documentaries. I remember watching Christmas television with her. I remember having to sleep in my sister’s room on Christmas eve so that she could stay overnight and share Christmas with us. I regret every time I complained. I would give so much to have all that back.
Normally, helping my mum prepare everything for Christmas and being around my family would help, but having moved 4 hours away from them, I don’t have that luxury for another two weeks. After a week and a half visiting, I will spend my first new year away from home. It’s exciting but bittersweet. Of all the years to start not being able to see my family as much, why did it have to be this one?