Actually, for the first time in a few years, I am excited for Christmas!
Not to sound like a miserable cow, but I must admit, the last couple of years have felt a bit shit without Mum being here. She was my Christmas. So much of how you celebrate the festive period is built around how you spent it as a child. All the traditions, the smells, the songs, the 80’s brash decorations! I loved all of it!
I certainly don’t want this to be a sad blog just before Christmas, but I know a few people that are experiencing Christmas for the first time this year without one of their parents, or a parent that is incredibly ill and I just want you to know that you’re in my thoughts. It doesn’t seem like it now, but I want you to know that it does get just a little bit easier as the years pass.
I can’t believe that this is the third Christmas without Mum. I remember the particularly well… Ellie constantly raising her glass to Nanny – which felt like a knife to the gut every time she said it, and I remember it just feeling very empty without her there.
That first Christmas was also the year that George Michael died, on Christmas Day! I’d managed to pretty much hold myself together that whole day, but when hubby came in and told me he’d passed away, the flood gates open. I’m not sure whether I was crying for Mum or George, but I just let it flow!
I was surprised at the resilience I found to get through the day… until I’d drunk my weight in gin and the news of George Michael passing away was announced. Your brain is a very powerful organ and it does everything it can to protect you – including pushing thoughts and feelings to the back of your mind so you can get on with life. However, if you need to let those feelings out… do that too. My mantra was ‘just go with it’…. Your body will tell you what you need to do.
To be honest, the last few years, I’ve avoided doing some things that made me think of mum at Christmastime, like shopping trips. It was just too hard to walk around and be reminded that Mum isn’t here. Seeing lots of mums and daughters picking out presents, having lunch with bags piled up next to them, I hated it! Thank goodness for Amazon – it’s been my saviour the last few years! This year however, I did drag hubby for some Christmas shopping and all was fine. I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if you don’t feel like doing things because they feel too difficult, then don’t do them. Look after your sanity – there’s always another year.
I must admit, I have been a little more relaxed about Christmas this year. I remember in the past, feeling very anxious in the lead up to it. I would want everything to be perfect, the house to be spotless, every eventually for food to be covered. But this year, I’m a little more chilled.
When you think about it, Christmas Day is just another day. We get so bloody stressed about the whole occasion but how many of us think ‘thank f@ck for that’ when it’s all over? Every year I say, I’m not going to get so worked up over Christmas this year and that I will have everything done and dusted well in advance, but as I type this I still have a load of presents to wrap and a list of food shopping that I didn’t manage to get last night on ‘The BIG Shop’! But its all good, it will get done at some point so there is no need to panic… and if I don’t have celery to stick under the turkey as it goes in the oven, Christmas will still be great, and nobody will actually give a shit!
What has also helped with the feeling of Zen around this time of year, is that Ellie seems to be a little calmer. Christmas is not always a great time for children (and adults) that are on the autistic spectrum. She is still obsessed with what food is going to be eaten and when (that might come from me!) and gets excited/anxious about different things that are happening, but this year it just doesn’t feel quite so fraught. Maybe my new Zen-like state just lets it all wash over me (along with flashing the ‘Vs’ behind the fridge door). I also discovered the magic of Reiki this year… maybe that’s helped too!
I’ve also been doing a Self-Mastery course in the latter part of this year. What the hell is that? (yes, I hear ya!). In short, it looks at ‘your own life story’ and the struggles, celebrations, and the pivots in life that we all go through. You then look at how you’ve behaved during the difficult times and look for patterns. Do you self-sabotage? Do you sit in denial? Do you move on quickly from something bad and not allow it to process? (I’m guilty of all of them!)
Learning to forgive, being mindful and practicing things like gratitude and self-care (along with other aspects that I won’t go into right now) has been a big part of the course and I know it has helped me greatly over the past few months. Everything we have been through in our past shapes who we are now, and this course has been invaluable to me in so many ways. I’ll write a standalone blog on it in the new year.
If you’re still here at the end of this somewhat waffle-filled blog, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing in my journey on the blog this year and wish you and your loved ones a Very Merry Christmas. Have fun, stay safe, don’t sweat the small stuff… and I’ll see you on the other side. xxx
Love and hugs