First posted in December 2020. We have grown so much more than we ever thought we would, and we want to share our earlier posts. We aim to reflect on the early struggles of our grief, and what we went through without our mum. We are proud of where we have come from, and of where we are going. We hope you are as well.
If you are struggling with your grief, that is okay. You are not alone.
As a child, December was my favourite month. From the 5th to the 9th, using all of my willpower, I used to save up my advent calendar chocolates. On the morning of the 10th, sleepy eyed, I would sit in between my parents as Mum would give me my birthday presents and I would indulge in the chocolates that I had been saving for my big day.
It was a magical month full of roast dinners and warm evenings sat in front of the fire next to my dad, or curled up on the sofa with my mum. Looking back to my childhood December was always a time I will associate with safety – nothing in my innocent bubble could be wrong… and Father Christmas was coming.
One Christmas, when I was about 10, I bought my mum a cd with a cover of Imagine. To my disbelief, Father Christmas gave me exactly the same cd! That evening, Mum and I climbed the ladder to my bunk bed, I popped the cd into the player, we lay down and listened to that song on repeat – magic.
Fast forward to the summer when I was 16, of course, my mum fell ill and had lost her hair by the winter. Determined as ever, she still made Christmas special with beautiful food and special memories. She still decorated the house with ornate decorations that we had collected over the years. There was still an element of magic, because she was magic. No one on the outside would have known what we were battling. She still enjoyed a glass of Bailey’s of an evening because “Oh it’s December”, she still cooked salmon on Christmas Eve, and lay an extra place at the dinner table on Christmas day for a welcome stranger. But I was so scared. We were all so scared.
Thereafter, December no longer brought that sense of magic. Along with the cold weather that I once loved so much, December brought with it the very real threat of neutropenia. It brought desperate contingency planning that if Mum got ill, a friend’s parents would be able to drive me to the hospital. It brought microwave meals that Mum could easily make herself if she were unable to get to the supermarket due to snow. Before long, December brought fear.
Last Christmas was the first without our Mum. As she taught us, through her unfaltering determination, we decided to carry on with Christmas. The tree went up as if it were prop for a change of scene on stage. The whole thing was a performance – a hollow and fragile production played by worn out actors. I cooked dinner for 5 people. It was just how my mum used to cook, it was perfect, and I hated every minute.
But Christmas of 2019 has been so completely different. First of all, I’ve been working and my job is fast paced to say the least. It seemed that It was only yesterday that my uncle drove me to London but before I know it it’s the 23rd of December.
This month has been filled with many a magical moment; from a party in central London, to cosy evenings at Peter’s house with our cousins, to a bottomless brunch and Winter Wonderland to celebrate turning 25.
Of course, December has not been without tears and there will be more to come, I’m sure. The pain still momentarily jars me when someone asks me why I’m not going back to Devon, or I hear about friends’ Christmas plans in France or Italy visiting their parents.
We aren’t going back to Devon this Christmas. We won’t walk down the driveway and see Mum’s light up reindeer propped up in the garden or her wreath hung on the front door. We won’t see the Christmas tree through the living room window and we won’t be welcomed by the warmth of the log fire.
Rather, Evee has come to my flat in London where a new wreath hangs on the door, and a squat little Christmas tree sits in the living room – perfect for us. My flatmate has made sure to cook a roast most Sundays for which I am so thankful for. And, unlike last Christmas I’ve enjoyed going shopping for the people closest to me. There’s no pretending this year, we are feeling what we are feeling and this Christmas is for us. We still enjoy a glass of Bailey’s, we are still going to have salmon on Christmas eve and we are still going to lay a place at the table for a welcome stranger.
I wake up in the night sometimes. Evee sleeping beside me and Daisy purring peacefully at the bottom of the bed. I realise that those distant feelings that I’ve longed for since I was a child have slowly tiptoed their way back in to our lives – I feel warm, cosy and safe. Once again, December is our friend and I know Mum would be so happy for her girls.
Merry Christmas, everybody x
31 thoughts on “Reality Revisited: Hello, Old Friend”
Bravo! To new beginnings laced with memories and remembrances in the form of tears!
What a beautiful post! You must miss your mum terribly, but you both are a credit to her and the healing and love will grow stronger.
Happy Christmas! Beautiful story!
Very sorry to hear that you lost your mother. But she is still living in your heart. A lovely post.
Happy Christmas Katie & Evee ! Hugs and Kisses for you. <3
Have a wonderful Christmas
You too, Luisa 🎄🥂🥰
A poignant yet uplifting post. Thanks for sharing and I hope that the New Year brings you joy. PS. It’s a long road you’re on but you will feel better, one day, quite unexpectedly, you find that it doesn’t hurt quite so much.
Hello! Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. It is a long road, but one that feels less daunting the more time I spend travelling down. Happy New Year, I wish you a peaceful 2020!
Thank you!! Best wishes to you.
Your love always shines through. Your love and your zest for life. They guide you well. Such beautiful words.
Hello! It’s how my mum used to lead her life and how I would like to carry on with mine 🙂
I hope you and Son are enjoying this season together and making memories. Merry Christmas 🎄
I really appreciated reading your words. They depicted so well the journey from presence to absence to missing to recovering (while still missing). Thank-you.
Hello, thank you for taking the time to read. I’m really glad people can relate to what we write. Happy new year!
I love the fall.
What’s your favourite month?
Depends on what state I’m in. In Kentucky it would be October. In the PNW it would be September!
I love October 🙂
Very sorry to hear that you lost your mother. Take care .
Thank you 🤍
we lost our dog last july. he was a pure bred wire fox terrier. he was a peace maker between volatile son and dad. we bought a weather vane with his likeness on it as a rememberance
I’m very sorry for your loss xx
thanks . my buffer between me and my son is gone./ need a new one.
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were created for another world.” C. S. Lewis
Your desire for your Mum will never go away any more than my desire to see my Mother and Dad. And that is what draws us to Heaven. Trust that The God of All The Earth will do what is right. 😊
If you ever get to come across “the Pond,” I’ll pick up a bottle of Baileys to share.
Hi, Katie and Evee. Forgive me for commenting twice, but I had to share this as I read another blog right after reading yours:
“Have you ever lost a loved one, someone close to you? For those of us who have, we understand that, like love, grief never dies. Why? Because grief IS love. It is all the love that we have for that person that now has no place to go, because they are no longer there to receive it. Only the Lord can take away our sorrows and grief (wipe the tears from our eyes).” Alabastersky
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, 🎅🏻
Thank you, 😀!
Thank you for sharing!.. have a wonderful holiday, every day filled with peace, love and joy!.. 🙂
Until we meet again..
May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
Brightened by a song
in your heart,
And warmed by the smiles
of people you love.