I’m not really fussed about Christmas, to me it’s just another day.
I have an older brother but since our teens we’ve never been close. No big drama, we just don’t have a sibling bond, I’m not sure why. I love him, I’d give him a kidney; but we hardly speak.
He married his childhood sweetheart and they have three perfect sons and five perfect grandchildren. No invite was forthcoming to spend Christmas with them, so I will be spending Christmas day with friends I have met through my walking group who also don’t spend Christmas with their families for different reasons.
I haven’t felt quite so bah humbug this year. I organised a Christmas lunch for elderly people who are alone at Christmas. I gave quite a bit of money and time and made it happen, and it was worth it when I saw people enjoying a lovely meal and making new friends. I am like a pebble dropped in the sea, I send ripples out to the Universe and those ripples keep on going, like a chain reaction.
This year I haven’t been filled with the usual dread. Partly because I have been kept very busy with University assignments. I also had a friend to stay recently and adopted a rescue dog, so no time to dwell and feel sorry for myself. Toby’s birthday is on 22nd, and I go to his special place and lay a wreath of holly leaves and berries and hang a Christmas ornament on his tree. There were not so many tears this year. I sat on a bench with the two dogs and a robin hopped down to visit.
Toby would be 29 now and I wonder if he ever would have settled into a job and had children of his own. He said he detested babies and would never have any, but if he had fallen in love and matured that might have changed.
Toby was just Toby, I can’t say he was the model son, whatever that is. He was my everything, but most of the time he never answered his phone and if he did there wouldn’t be much conversation. He lied to me on many occasions and in one brutally honest moment when he was trying to explain why he did it he said: “But when I lie to you, you say you’re proud of me.” Ouch…
He seemed to sabotage every opportunity he was given; school, work experience, jobs, University. He was so intelligent and could have done anything if only he could have found some motivation.
After he went to Uni and made new friends I lost him, and didn’t really know the young man he had become. But I did know Toby, my son, the intelligent, sensitive, funny person who screwed up time after time, only because he couldn’t figure out what he was supposed to be in a world that was alien to him.
If he were still here, in all probability he’d still be trying to figure it out, he just wanted to be independent but that meant conforming and he wasn’t very good at that. He wasn’t the kind of son who would come home to see me at Christmas, he’d rather spend it with his mates, but that’s OK with me.
Whatever your beliefs about Christmas it is a time to come together and celebrate, whether as a Christian celebration or just as a time to get together with loved ones, eat, drink, exchange gifts and hopefully laugh a lot and feel thankful. So I’ll be doing that this year and not dwelling on what might have been.
People can feel conflicted when wishing someone who is bereaved a ‘Happy Christmas’, so instead I would wish them a peaceful day, filled with memories and hope for the future.