So, how was your Christmas?
Full of cheer, festive fizz and marvellous memories to get you through the next year?
Are you still somewhat stuffed, but ready to eat drink and be merry all over again on New Year’s Eve?
If you are, then I actually imagine you are in the minority – despite what the pictures on Facebook show.
When I was little, my Grandad died on Christmas Eve. My mum had four children under six and, despite finding out mere hours earlier that her beloved dad had suffered a fatal heart attack, she managed to still put on a happy face for us on Christmas day. To open our presents with us. To laugh at our little games. To play, to eat Christmas dinner. To snuggle up and watch festive films. To keep the magic of the day alive for us all in every way.
The only clue that something wasn’t quite right, was her red-rimmed eyes. Which she, of course, attributed to Father Christmas bringing her a bit of a cold as well as her gifts.
I wasn’t told about my Grandad Jim until several days after Christmas – as my parents did their best to make sure sadness didn’t impinge on all the fun we were having.
As a grown-up I’m full of awe at her strength.
But she’s not the only mummy that, over Christmas, has put on her best face for her children, while inside struggling.
This *is* the most wonderful time of the year in lots of ways. But it’s also the hardest. When those who are grieving, can’t help but see the ghosts of Christmas past at every cracker-laden table. When those who are feeling low struggle to feel part of the joy – and watch on feeling detached from everything, even though they are right there in the middle of it.
So this is for those of you who survived Christmas, rather than celebrating it. It may not have been perfect, but you did it. I take my (paper) hat off to you all.