Well it’s that time of year again and I usually just regurgitate my blog about how to survive Christmas after the loss of a loved one, but it doesn’t feel appropriate anymore.
A better blog would be how to survive every day after 6 and a half years and coming up to your son’s 30th birthday.
Losing Toby has just settled into being part of me now, it’s part of the fibre of my soul. In many ways I still feel Toby around me even though he is gone, but what scares me is that as each year goes by he feels like he is getting further away.
I watched one of my favourite weepy films at the weekend ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ about a man with a young son who has lost his wife. There are 2 bits that get me. The first is when Tom Hanks is talking to the radio show host and she asks him what he is going to do, and he answers, ‘I’m going to get up every day and breath in and out and then maybe one day I won’t have to remember to breathe in and out anymore’. The second is when his son tells him he is worried he will forget his Mum – gulp.
I’ve been breathing in and out and getting on with things and I’m not unique, so many people suffer tragedies in their lives, I’m just one of them. I could wail and scream but it wouldn’t change anything but there is always just this bit of inner sadness that will never go away.
I do feel more hopeful this year as there is a lot of media coverage about people on their own at Christmas. I am spending Christmas alone, but it doesn’t fill me with dread anymore. I can just spend the day quietly remembering Toby – if I spend it with others he never gets mentioned. I am planning a Christmas Day dog walk with friends in the morning so won’t be alone all day.
I let all the Christmas stuff just wash over me now, it’s not such a big deal, I feel much more relaxed about telling people I am spending it alone and that’s fine with me.
My advice to anyone spending Christmas with a big gap at the table, just do what feels right for you but acknowledge the sadness, don’t put on a brave face that helps no one.
I’ll be doing something to honour my son on his birthday and on Christmas day, he is still a huge part of my life even though he isn’t here in his physical form. And then it will be over for another year and I can get on with breathing in and out.