To start the festive period I got us a pre-lit small Christmas tree, thinking this will help set the scene. Well I might as well not bothered, it was too small to be a main tree maybe good for a landing in fact it’s now in the entrance hall. It just made us feel sadder, is that even possible? Yes it is. So we put up our fake on from Cambridge and it took us a few days to dress it, there is no excited buzz but the lights reminded me of our little Louis smiling at us.
Unsurprisingly the Christmas break and the run up was not great for Chris and I and we didn’t expect to be.
We still went for our annual pre-Christmas dinner out. Last year Louis joined us, this year was different but it is our tradition so we forced ourselves to keep it. We spent some quality time together and as usual planned our priorities and focus.
We did get to spend time with family during the season, but in general we chose to be on the low and took any expectations out of it. For Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day we headed away with my sister, where we could chill recoup and escape any Christmas drama or hype.
This few days were so hard but here are a few lessons learnt or pointers we gained. I’m sure each year will be hard and the lessons learnt different each year. What may work one year may not the next.
Which leads to my first finding BE FLEXIBLE. Go with what feels right and don’t do anything because you feel obliged and you don’t want to let anyone down. Free yourself from expectation and you can change your mind.
EXPECT TEARS and that’s ok just go with it, be open and honest.
We shared our thoughts and feelings. We are stronger together. Being open provides some clarity.
Inside I had been blaming Chris for moving us to Cambridge and I felt had spend my 20s and 30s following his career about and I was just dealing with the cards I had been left.
I also felt that Chris had been blaming me for walking Louis along that pavement. But being honest shared those feelings before they became something their not. This was a weight off both our shoulders.
Talking openly about this I was able concluded this is survivors and mother’s guilt combined and very normal.
I need to accept this was not my fault. I can only do this myself. No one is going to do it for me.
I’m not responsible but we are accountable. I sense I will be exploring this for a while or maybe our whole lives.
TAKE THE EAT OUT OPTION. Cooking is something that I’m not interested in the best of times, so usually that falls to Chris and Andy at Christmas. But this year’s lunch out saved any drama and not cooking saved energy in an already emotionally charged day for us all.
It was good to turn up to our reservation and focus on spending time together and our cocktails, dinner and a nice bottle of vino. Then leave all the washing up. I think we are all rather sold on Christmas dinner out from now.
GIFT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. We got our nearest and dearest gifts from us and Louis to thank them for all their support and love over the past year.
On a side note I’m well and truly back to my old shopping habits, sorry Chris but it’s very advanced and a key part of my rehab as I’m able to deal with a different shipping and billing address.
TAKE HELP TOO. Luckily Claire puts our names on gifts for the wider family. That was one of the many helpful and kind things my sister has done for us this year, she took over all birthdays and Christmas gifts and cards for us.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO EDIT. I didn’t write Christmas cards anyway this year, it’s too much to follow the photo cards of Louis from last year’s. So it’s best to leave those.
BAG IT UP. Wrapping paper is a no, too hard for my currently limited right arm and hand movements, also I’m not in the frame of mind to even start. So I got paper festive gift bags which did the job and there was less waste, it’s probably more environmentally friendly deep down I’m becoming greener.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN. We got loads of best wishes from our loved ones and friends we really appreciated it. I couldn’t reply though. I don’t think they were expecting me to anyway. Turning your phone off for a few days is fine it’s not great to see everyone’s highlights anyway.
HAVE A THEME SONG. The theme song to this Christmas was River by Joni Mitchell. This song was mentioned to me by one of my dearest friends but I found it was the perfect and beautiful soundtrack to our Christmas and summed my mood.
I wish I had a river I could skate away on.
There are no quick wins just get thorough this is a bloody big one.