In a weeks time it will all be over. That’s what Nan would say if she was still here.
Well, I don’t want it all to be over. In fact, I don’t mind if Christmas Day doesn’t come at all. Suspend this day, and the other days that lead up to December 25th because for me, it’s the build up, the anticipation which fills me with the joy of Christmas; decorating the house, bringing the food in, meeting up with friends, hearing from people who we only hear from at this time of year.
On this run up to Christmas, I always find it’s the one time of the year when people give a little more, act a little nicer and for some, be the people they want to be all year round. A while back I read somewhere, "I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." It made me smile although this year despite (or maybe because of) the extreme weather, I find there's a great spirit everywhere. It's as I’d imagine the Dunkirk spirit; people being stoical and cheery despite the circumstances, helping each other, being extra thoughtful and looking out for those vulnerable people like the sick and elderly.
Listen to me and my ‘God Bless us, everyone.’ Perhaps I’m getting older but I often find myself melancholy and reflective around this time. When I hear of people killed in car accidents, think of our men and women in the Armed Forces, learn of someone who’s having a tough time, I always feel a little more for them if it's close to Christmas, aware that from now on, instead of Christmas being a time of joy and happiness, it will always be a little bit worse.
My Granddad died just before Christmas the year before I was born and it was also his birthday in December. When I was a child, I remember asking Nan why she had sad eyes one Christmas. Now I understand why. Christmas is a sad time for many people. Spare a thought for some of my friends;
Kate Hardy has just lost her dear Dad. B, my lovely neighbour, started chemotherapy on Friday knowing she has secondary cancer. Despite numerous scans and tests they can’t find the primary source. J, one of my dearest, longest standing friends will once again spend Christmas without her husband. He’s only sixty-five but has Alzheimer’s and has been in a care home for the last few Christmas's. J will have her family around this Christmas and her friends will all be there for her, yet I understand how there may be times when she'll be in a roomful of people, yet still feel like the loneliest person in the world. Then there’s Mr Woozle. They say time’s a great healer but I bet as he faces the first anniversary of his beautiful wife’s passing, it doesn’t feel much like that.
Bless those of you who have troubles and worries in your life and know that I am thinking of you. If I could grant you one wish it is that I could take your troubles away. Of course I can’t do that so I hope instead of being sad for the whole Christmas you might spend some of the time re-living happy memories and smiling.
As I recover from my surgery there is a lot to be thankful for. Who would have thought I’d be able to eat my Christmas dinner, chomp on nuts and sing carols. Despite all the grief and worry he’s caused us, Idle Jack has a job when many don’t. And I'm thankful too that hubby is still in work. A year ago we didn’t know what might happen when his company were taken over. Spending the week in London is a small price to pay. Quiet Mousie has health worries (he’s showing signs of developing my Behcets disease) but with a wonderful Professor of Rheumatology at Birmingham Children’s hospital looking after him and a Mum who understands the disease, we can help him manage it. And let’s be especially thankful, he’s not going to die from it. Some children won’t be so fortunate this Christmas...
As mine rip open their presents on Christmas morning, I shall be reminding them that it’s not about what you get. It’s about what you give too; friendship, love and support to those who need it most.
I have everything I want for Christmas; a full fridge, the log burner exuding warmth, my lovely family and the best friends in the world, and for now, I’m grateful that my health is holding up - health is everything. So yes, I’ll be counting my Christmas blessings this year more than ever, surgery behind me and with much to look forward to.
On that subject, can I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and kind messages throughout the year.
I wish you all the joys of Christmas and happiness throughout 2011.
Until another day
God bless us, everyone.
Notable Chicago: 4/20–4/26
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