20 December 2017

Bah, humbug.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. So goes the song. Usually in the Alcoholic Daze household, it's looking pretty festive by now. I love Christmas.  I'm like an overgrown kid and go mad, decorating everything that doesn't move - shelves, banisters and walls - with holly, reindeer or baubles. Even the front door - which DOES move - gets an advent wreath plonked on it. I go to town with pre-Christmas food shopping, storing such things as the cake, stollen and chocolates in drawers ready for the big day.  Cards have all been sent out in the first week of December and presents are usually long bought by now and already wrapped. I usually can't wait for the big day to come. As I say, I'm an overgrown kid at heart.

The key to this post is usually. This year is different.  I feel almost guilty for daring to enjoy myself. With my mother's death only four weeks ago and her funeral only last week, it doesn't seem right to enjoy or celebrate. As I drive around the neighbourhood, the houses all lit up, the shops brimming with tinsel and choirs yelling out carols, it makes me feel like shouting out "Do you realise my mother has just died!"  I don't want to ruin other people's joy, but it is hard for me to feel it this year. Fresh grieving at this time of year is hard. People keep telling me Mum would have wanted me to carry on as usual and wouldn't want me to be sad. I cannot think of a single Christmas in the last 26 years when she has not celebrated with us, so it is going to seem very strange indeed that she is not here this year for the first time. 

I come from a very small family. I have no brothers or sisters, no cousins and, now, no parents or husband. Kay is all I have as a remaining relative. Whereas for the last seven years, since Greg's death, there has been my mother, Kay and me, now there is just Kay and me. Christmas Day is going to look very different this year with just two of us. We shall do our best to enjoy it, just relaxing and watching wall-to-wall films on TV, eating a bit too much and drinking a bit too much, but the feeling of guilt will be hard to push away.

Kay and I went to our local church's annual carol/nativity service last Sunday. There is nothing like it anywhere and the church is always packed to the rafters, often with standing room only. And, believe me, it is an enormous church.  At the beginning, the church is plunged into darkness and the nativity is enacted by adults who wander with candles or lanterns  as Shepherds or Wise Men  through the congregation as the nativity scene unfolds at the front. The choir sings haunting classical pieces relevant to every stage of the story.  By the end everyone in the congregation has lit their candles and the church is bathed in light and the smell of candlewax (or singed hair). It is a very emotional service. Somehow, that lifted my spirits - enough for Kay and me to be digging out a few things now from the cellar to decorate the house a little.

I hope you all have the type of Christmas you love and wish you all the best for 2018. It will be a new year and new beginnings for me, now I am no longer a carer for my mother.


Jeanette said...

I remember when my mother passed away all I wanted was for the world to just stop for a while until I got my head together again. It was near Christmas time also so I know how you feel.

Vivian Swift said...

Oh, honey; I hope you can give yourself the time and care and love that you'll need to work through your sense of guilt so that you can ease up on yourself and let your soul find joy once more. It's a fearful thing to love what death can touch, but it's a holy thing too. (Poem, Yehudi HaLevi, c. 1075 - 1141; grief is part of our long human history).

Happy Christmas to you and Kay.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

When we lose someone we love dearly it is a sorrowful time Addy, and especially so if around Christmas, as its impact seems harder to bear (I know of this, so understand how you feel).
It is so easy for us to say that you should enjoy Christmas and it is what your mum would have wanted, and I am sure this is true. But easily spoken words do not take the pain away, the awful feeling of loss.
Nevertheless, on Christmas Day, raise a glass to the memory of your mum as a celebration of her life, of how she lit up the lives of all those she knew, of how proud you are of her.
Thinking of you and loads of love

the veg artist said...

I know, it's hard. I think it is the fate of most of us to have a time of year that brings back memories. With me, it's watching fireworks on Bonfire Night. I was told that my father had died (I was twelve) and then, within twenty minutes, was expected to go outside to watch fireworks because younger relatives couldn't be disappointed!! It still hurts.
Try to enjoy Christmas as she would have, though. She wouldn't want you to be miserable.

Pam said...

I feel your pain. And I too come from a smallish family, though not as small as yours - no cousins, one brother. But I have a husband, three children and now grandchildren (though they'll all be away this Christmas - apart from my husband). It's going to be very hard without your mother. I felt a huge gap in my life and still do - though the freedom from caring is a relief in a way. I hope you manage to have a good time with your beloved daughter.

Polly said...

The death of a loved one is the hardest thing to come to terms with. The world doesn't stop, people don't stop to acknowledge your loss. Remembering happy times helps and you will be with your daughter. I hope you manage to have some happy moments over the Christmas period.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I can understand your dilemma this Christmastime but I hope you lit a Christmas candle for your dear departed mum. It would be great if you could treat yourself to a sunshine holiday in 2018. You deserve it.

Billie said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your mom, Addie. I have recently discovered your blog and have now read it from the beginning. Thank you for sharing because strangely, it has helped me understand my own childhood with 2 alcoholic parents. You are a most kind lady, a wonderful mother and daughter. Two years ago I also lost my husband to a dreadful auto immune illness. I am a widow too. I wish you a much happier new year dear lady and for life to have less pain.