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.