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.
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.
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1 year ago