It’s the most wonderful time of year – and this year we’ve got more than most to be thankful for welcoming our third born son on the 9th December.
And we are thankful. And oh #soblessed to use a bit of a cliche. Yet alongside the excitement it’s also coming up to the anniversary of when we lost my husbands mum, swiftly followed by my dad.
Both sudden. Both unexpected. And, in both cases, myself and my husband were the ones who had to deal with a lot of the formalities.
The registering of deaths, the contacting of funeral directors, organising of wakes, supporting others. The list went on and on. And it’s not something you’d expect to deal with at 27. Each day we found there was a little bit more to do, another thing to be added, we ended up with a checklist as long as my arm, the likes of which can be found at SunLife.
This time of year brings those memories flooding back. Memories of flinging random clothes in suitcases and trying desperately to get across London to get on a train to Leeds in time to be with my husband and his mum. Followed six weeks later by walking in a daze to the station to meet my best friend who then drove me home to my mums. My husband being the one flinging clothes in a case, rushing to get on a train and meet us.
The gap you can’t explain
When someone dies unexpectedly there is a gap you can’t explain. A missing goodbye. Things that haven’t been said.
There is sadness with every happy occasion as you realise that they aren’t there to share your joy. And anger when you feel like they should still be here.
The delight we find in our children, knowing how wonderfully, imperfectly perfect they are coupled with the upset of knowing that there will be grandparents they will never know.
How I know my dad would have been the silliest, craziest Grandad going. He would have spoilt all my boys rotten, just like he did to me, if they wanted anything they’d just need to sidle up to him and he’d have melted in a puddle. He would have got on the floor and played hours of LEGO, been the best playmobil fireman going, and even learned how to play the Ninetendo switch that my eldest loves.
Except he can’t.
Because he’s not here anymore and hasn’t been here since I found out I was pregnant with my eldest.
It’s been 7 years and whilst, in a way, time does make it easier to live with. It still never goes away completely.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, and no one thought that more than my dad. So this Christmas, as we snuggled up with the three munchkins by the tree. Munching on mince pies and realising how thankful we are that the littlest arrived safe and sound.
Yet at the same time we will be remembering those who we miss. We’ll be busy raising a glass to our loved ones in the sky. Wishing them a very Merry Christmas and remembering them. Passing on their stories to our children and their memories.
Helping them live on.
When someone dies unexpectedly, early, before their time, you focus on the list of things you need to do and work on getting through each day. Then later it hits you and you grieve in a different way.
This Christmas we took the time to remember them, and to remember those they left behind.
And to my Dad?
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Old Man – you’re missed very much every day, yet I look at my children and see glimpses of you. I look in the mirror and notice your features in mine. And in my heart I still fell the love you gave me for all of my life.