Monday, 14 December 2015

The Second Festive Helping

This season sucks. I thought it may be different this year – you know? With it being my second Christmas in this new normal life I am working so hard to carve out for myself but it just isn’t that simple. 

I want to participate. In so many ways I think that it would be good for me to embrace the holiday season, despite not subscribing to the religious meaning of it all. Last Christmas went by in a blur. I was barely toddling in my unwanted new world and well, things were literally handed to me on a plate. By that, I mean mince pies, festive dinners and all the trimmings. I rolled the roast potatoes around my plate with a fork, still unable to stomach the vast majority of food that was lovingly cooked and passed my way.

On Christmas day last year, I packed up the necessary provisions to prepare and cook the dinner and like a modern day red riding hood, I got in the car and drove in a somewhat zombie-like state and arrived at my father’s house to do the honours. It was a quiet affair. I sat at the table with Dad, who at 83 was so happy to be spending the afternoon with me but I remember that I could hardly see my plate of food through the huge drops of silent tears that hung in my eyes silently. Of course I had the overwhelming feeling of gut wrenching pain that had been delivered earlier that year when my husband passed away but on top of that, I was sad for my Dad. 

I was sad for my Dad because when my husband died, my father also lost his daughter – not in body but in spirit. My spirit had been crushed, chewed and spat out in a heap – and the remnants of the happy go lucky daughter were sat opposite him, unable to make any kind of conversation.

I was sad because I also felt guilty. I felt guilty from the pit of my stomach that here were we, my Dad and I, on what could be his last ever Christmas and I was unable to communicate anything meaningful, let alone appreciate the man who only ever wanted the best for me.
And the shit thing now is that I was right. This year he has gone. 

He died a couple of months ago. 

That is the last memory of a Christmas day that I have. I need somehow to deal with this but I am unsure as to how?

As you know, I am hugely pragmatic. Shit happens. People get sick and people die. People you love drop dead unexpectedly or if you are ‘lucky’, then you get to find out just a few weeks in advance. If you are super unlucky, then it happens to your husband and your father in barely more than a 12 month period.

So I wonder was I super unlucky? I know that the ones I have lost were – but hold on…
I am the one still standing. I am the one still breathing. I am not the one that had to lay in bed contemplating that my life is soon to finish or the one who got up for a wee in the night and collapsed outright with nobody to hear their cry.

Of course one day, I could be either and that is the more powerful thought that keeps me pressing onward with a determination to grab this life by the scruff of the neck and deal with it all.
I don’t have to participate in anything this Christmas. Maybe that is the memory I need to create to put an end to the sadness of last year. 

I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. I need to find the courage to do it all or to do nothing. I want to participate if only I could find the courage.

But I am confident that whatever I choose to do, it will be the right thing for me.

I have much to look forward to in the new year so maybe I would be wise to focus on life after Christmas and just chill the f**k out. 

I know what my father would say… ‘It’s just one day Lizzie. After that, you have the rest of your life…and that is what is important…’

And Phil would say ‘I agree Brian. She is overthinking. She always does!’

For Phil and Dad: It’s alright boys! I have it all in hand. Sorry about the foul language Dad – it has been a tough year :) xx


  1. I love your posts. I agree 100% about the festive period. Last year was our first. The kids and I ran away to Paris. No family or friends. It was awesome. There's a lot to be said for just enjoying some time away, without all the superficial pressure xx

  2. I hope you are keeping well. I just wanted to share my comfort at reading your blog and hope you might write more soon- I appreciate your pragmatic and no-nonsense style.
    Take care.


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