“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;” – Clement Clarke Moore
Christmas is almost here but what does Christmas mean to me? Let’s go back to Christmas 1989 when I was just 6 years old.
I don’t 100% remember the whole day for some reason… but I do remember that it was the last and maybe even the only time we had one big family Christmas. The tree was up, I remember it being huge or maybe I was just small? I remember kissing the turkey goodbye as it sat on the side waiting to be roasted, I’m surprised I didn’t get salmonella poisoning (did I mention I was an odd child haha!)
The house was filled with everyone; my nan, grandad, mum, aunty, uncle, sisters, and cousins. They were all staying or maybe even living with us at the time, but I just remember it was lovely having everyone around all at once. I remember the room being filled with presents, we all had to pick the sofa or chair we wanted our presents to go on. I don’t remember what I got that year and it doesn’t even matter because the one thing I got and I that have craved ever since is that one big family day together. It is one of my happiest memories from my child hood.
Sadly my grandad died in the April after that Christmas. My nan and I moved up to Scotland for a couple of years (I’m assuming to get away from the memories in the house as my grandad chose to die at home with us). Even though those memories were there after he died, I wouldn’t of had it any other way. If I’m lucky enough to have the choice, I’d chose to be at home too. Weirdly, I don’t know how we all spent Christmas that year…
After this I just remember being with my nan and the man I call dad (father days blog post on this previously). We had wonderful Christmases together as a family. I’m not sure why we all stopped having big family Christmases like before? Maybe it was family moving cities, or the family divides? But I miss it…
I have mentioned in previous blogs about my family life, I cannot remember if I had said that my nan passed away on Boxing Day in 1998 – 20 years ago this year. Maybe I was saving this for a mothers day special next year… Well, that was the worst feeling in the world. However, I didn’t want to make Christmas a sad occasion and some memorial every year, that’s not what nan would have wanted. So I turned Christmas into a celebration, every year I go out my way to make it a positive and happy time. I love spending Christmas with my family. The past few years I have spent it with my sister down in Kent with her partner, his kids and my nephew. Unfortunately there is a bit of a family divide in our family right now and we haven’t spent Christmas together for a good few years, maybe even around 10 years now! But what this does mean, is that my sister and I have grown closer as a result of it, which is lovely!
I still manage to get quality family time in with those who mean so much to me. Christmas to me still means family time. Christmas to me means family, and every day should be a family day, but for me, this one particular day is to be around family. It’s about love, laughter and forgiveness. My dad isn’t a Christmas fan, I always invite him over for Christmas but he always declines. That’s just the way he is, he’s always been a little bit of a scrooge haha. It breaks my heart to think of him alone for Christmas but that’s his happy place and his choice and I respect that. I do go and visit him before Christmas and we have our own little day together.
After nan died I think he just stopped caring about Christmas maybe? My dad and I have a funny relationship where we don’t talk about deep feelings and how things have affected us. My dad is a very proud man and he’s the sort of person to hide his real feelings. Sometimes I wonder if I should just show up at his door step on Christmas Day and take him out for Christmas lunch. Would he actually like this? Would I be taking away his choice? I might just have a little think and do this next year. Trial and error right? Haha.
So let’s head back to the present day.
This week, I had a patient who was going through a lot, their grandparent had died recently and his parent was in intensive care through an attempted suicide. Christmas for them, is turning into a grey storm cloud. For many people, Christmas is a time of dread or sadness and it’s important we support each other through those times.
My inbox is always open if anyone needs anything. Why not check on your neighbour? Your friends, family, social media people. Ask someone today if they are ok or need any help and advice. Here are some numbers and pages of help if you need help (courtesy of Safeguarding Survivor) :
Merry Christmas everyone and a happy new year to you all.