Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Past

I've been reflecting a lot in recent days on Christmases Past and Present.

I've always loved Christmas, its important family time both for my family and for my in-laws (though the in-law-Christmases have been rather disrupted over the years by changes in marital status). Over there its all feasting and excess, tearing open presents, dozing in front of the telly, parties and late nights. With my lot its more sedate - church, lunch, intermittent present-opening, game-playing and walks on Boxing Day. All good in their very different ways. Strictly NOT just for the children.

Its important for most in my family as celebration of faith too. And though I'm not quite sure, at the moment, if and what I believe I do still treasure this time of year as a celebration of life and sharing, giving, light, hope, the presence of divinity at the very least in us and our relationships. Which, I think, is a good deal of what the original story/message are about.

Last year I limped carefully through Christmas, nursing and trying to hide a close-to-broken heart. I can't yet think about it too much, but it was a nightmare - a waking nightmare, as I was sleeping very little.

That was before the mid-night lettuce and banana -eating. Before sleeping pills and prozac.

Before blogging.

The warmth and laughter and caring and encouragement I have derived from and shared with many of you has transformed moments of the past year for me in a way I could never have predicted, thankyou.

It was also before the discovery of the beast lurking in my mother's stomach and liver.

I am at a loss for words to describe how this Christmas feels. They would need to be words encompassing the wonderful and awful, joy and grief. Thats the best I can do.

Whatever else this time is, it will be precious, though precious is too cheap a word.

After a prognosis - in May - of 2/3 months, my mother is still with us and, for much of the time, comfortable and able to enjoy life and the wrapping of Christmas gifts. But what do you buy for the woman who has everything but not the future she should still have had?
My most recent e-Bay purchases reflect something of our life: DVDs (Yes Minister, the Darling Buds of May, Jeeves and Wooster - good viewing helps transport her from the present when she needs that); maternity clothes (everything about her has shrunk, except her stomach); vintage Christmas baubles (I'm hankering, I think, for my childhood Christmases). And hankering is such a perfect word for that almost-physical longing. Maybe because it is close to "hungering".

With no growth in the tumours between May and October, its hard to know what to expect now. We wait for another scan in early January. And life seems to be on hold.

My heart is also holding itself carefully. I think there has been real healing as well as real hurt and anger over the past year, and I am mostly hopeful for all the hearts in our home.

More hopeful than not.
What is life without hope?

I can't think at all about Christmas Future, but it will be here in its own time.

I left the sleeping pills behind long ago.
Also the lettuce and bananas.
But I have come to really think of myself, sometimes, as "Lettuce" (even Lettie) and though I don't blog very regularly at the moment, your friendship and comments mean a great deal to me.

The less I blog, the less I feel I have to say. The more I blog, the more the words come sputtering out. I never knew I had such a propensity for rambling. I will stop now!

I hope that you and the people who you love and who love you will know peace and joy this Christmas Present and - whatever else is going on (or not) in your life - that you will have much to celebrate.


Anonymous said...

A beautiful post Letty...yes it's been a hard year and I, too, have come to love some of you so much and been so wonderfully supported by your friendships.

I know this may be a bitter-sweet time of the year for you, but I do hope you have a lovely ime with your Mom and just cherish these moments with her. I know you will.

I'll be thinking of you - have a very Happy Christmas.


Anonymous said...

That is probably the most lovely blogpost I have ever read.

Christmas is one of those marker, anchor type moments that we all need in our lives. A time that is frozen somehow - just for a moment - to enable us to look back and forward and then to forget all of that savour the present and all that we have.

Have a wonderful, Christmas, Letty. I shall be thinking of you too.


trac said...


Pod said...

i just wrote a little heartfelt comment and i think it disappeared?? i shall wait and see if it materialises, and if after a cuppa and some mince pies it hasnt, i shall write again!

Anonymous said...

Ah Lettie darling I am so glad that the heartache and pain you felt in the beginning of last year made you blog and brought you to us. I am also glad that we were able to ease some of it in our own way (although I feel ill equipped to at times). Don't ever forget that we are here for you. I really hope you enjoy this Christmas with your family. You are a special person xxx

Pod said...

well it seems my lovely comment is lost..n'er mind, i shall not be beaten!!

little love, i was close to tears reading this post. i really know what you are going through. a very similar set of circumstances happened to me a while back. trust that much better things are to come re the heart!! you will shine brighter and stronger, as you already do, and someone special will really see that and appreciate it.

have a lovely time with mum. if she is up to it, get her to tell you lots of childhood stories. yours and hers. get as many of these as you can! laugh and cry. take photos.

i really feel for you. hope i'm not being too soppy or whatever. i just know...

in a parallel world i shall meet you at the edge of the icerink at dusk on christmas eve, and we shall skate side by side for a few turns, in the silent knowing that everything is as it should be. i know that we dont 'know' each other, but i am always here, even if just to hold hands whilst skating.

keep warm!


Calamity Tat said...

My dear S, much love to you and the whole family... xxxx

Joyce said...

Yes, I'm a little lumpy now, after reading that. Life is this moment, is it not? No telling what Christmas future is. We'd not have believed it last year if we'd thought of all that would occur in a year.
Love your mama, letty, hold her near.
That goes without saying, but you know that I know how it is to see someone eaten by cancer. And I'm sincerely sorry.
God's rest to your heart, Lettuce.

cream said...

Straight to the heart from the heart!
Love at Christmas, L.

Dizzy said...


I don't know if you will get this post as I am way behind. What a lovely blog. You are such a very special person and deserve all the love and support you receive.

2006 has been such a difficult year for you in many ways. I truly hope the New Year brings prolonged health for your Mum and renewed love and relationship for you.

With all my love