Reality Revisited: All I Want For Christmas

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.Β 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.


Is a nice one.

My family has always been known for our Christmasses. Or rather, our mum was. She was always the person to loudly exclaim “Santa’s watching” when my sisters and I were acting up. She had a light up reindeer which we would place outside our house, and (Much to Mum’s joy) would get commented on by our neighbours.

We had Christmas jumpers, mulled wine and mince pie evenings, we had decorations up on the 1st of December, and Mum would start buying Christmas food and drink early; I’m talking stockpiling alcohol in August, to join the ranks of the alcohol we never even got through the year before.

As children, our December mornings were not quite complete until Mum asked us if we opened our advent calendars, and I would always tell her what shaped chocolate I got. Mum would always come into my room when I was older and sit on my bed as I got ready for school. “Have you opened your advent calendar?” and then she’d ask for the chocolate. And in the December evenings, our days weren’t quite complete if we didnt have a mince pie because “it’s Christmas!”

These memories are so ingrained into my Christmas, that I feel like she is still living and breathing, somewhere.

Our last Christmas together was a sad one. We had a doctor’s appointment on December 27th, and Mum was consumed by it. We knew something was going to change. Our Christmas dinner was delicious but it was destroyed by Mum crying because “all I can taste is chemicals.” A big difference from her joyous explosions of “It’s Christmas!” It broke our hearts.

Mum used to put a lot of pressure on Christmas. She wanted it to go perfectly; I think Katie and I just wanted to have fun, and we would moan a little bit when Mum would ask us to help in the kitchen, or Katie and I had to wash up. What a lovely thing to get frustrated about.

Last Christmas was weird. I remember thinking, but it’s just a Tuesday. This isn’t Christmas. I thought; Christmas must be dead too.

This year, I barely thought about Christmas, until I got sad. The sad I hadn’t felt in a long time; the one that winds up your ankles, suffocates your body and straps you down into your life; and the days begin to slip away, again.

I spoke to my friend and realised; Christmas isn’t Christmas anymore.

“The Christmas songs I used to love sound overplayed and overused.”

“The colours seem bland and boring.”

“Fairylights seem pathetic and stupid.”

How can Christmas be Christmas, when the person (or the people) who made it Christmas are gone?

My Mum tried to make Christmas a special occasion every year (“it’s Christmas!”), and last year everything was sucked out of Christmas.

This year, the build up has been fun. After my wobble, my friend and I went on a “friend date” together; we drank mulled wine, watched the ice skating, perused the markets, and I heard Christmas songs I had long-since forgotten about.

For this Christmas, I take and will take every single day as it comes. London is extraorinary at this time of year; and every corner seems to fill me with joy. I am falling in love with Christmas again.

Every milestone is hard. You have to mourn old traditions, mourn all the old Christmases you had, and mourn the future Christmases you thought you would have. I’m not sure what is the hardest bit to mourn, everything about it has the possibility to feel awful.

And when you have done that, you can breathe peacefully, and start to make new traditions, like not eating turkey (Katie and I never really liked it anyway), or pay homage to old traditions, like drinking a lot of the baileys.

At the beginning of December, I held a mulled wine and mince pie evening for my friends, in my little uni room. We played Christmas songs, chatted and laughed. You wouldn’t have known it, but my heart was sad, yet my spirit was happy. I think my mum would be proud of me, and my sister, because we stare pain in the face, and hug it until it leaves.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope that it treats you kindly, I hope you create happy memories, and I hope you feel everything you need to feel.


28 thoughts on “Reality Revisited: All I Want For Christmas

  1. When a mother leaves us at this time, Christmas is no longer the same for us, but there is the memory of having lived happy moments by her side. Perhaps the pain is accentuated, but also the happy memory. You have left a very deep story, especially for those of us who have gone through the same situation. I just wish you had a good Christmas, despite the circumstances.

  2. I am a mother in the states, with my daughter and family in England. I am a caregiver for my 86 year old husband, and it breaks my heart not to be with them. It’s coming up for 10 years without seeing them. πŸ˜₯

    1. I hope that you get to see them in 2020, and I hope that you can still enjoy this Christmas. Perhaps you can facetime or skype them on the day πŸ™‚ Happy Christmas to you x

  3. Perhaps it is time for you and your sister to take over your mum’s legacy of being joyful at this holiday time. Realistically, those traditions were started by her, but they live on through you. It is a way to honor her and her legacy, and to invite her spirit to be present to share in the joy!

  4. That’s such a lovely photo. Someone much much wiser than me said something like it’s the best of times it’s the worst of times. That’s Christmas for many of us. But we have good times and that’s the key. You have said that so well. Merry Christmas

  5. Your mum sounds like she was an amazing woman, I feel heartbroken for you. Take care and thank you for sharing your memories

  6. πŸ’Ž – Diamond Hard – πŸ’Ž

    πŸ’Ž “…is My Two Front Teeth…” and, fortunately for Me, I Still have Mine; basically I AM Happy to Exist, Experiment and Experience EveryOne as “Christmas” means Nothing to Me anymore other than a leg 🦡 πŸ™‚ 😊 πŸ˜… ☺ πŸ˜„ 🦡 of ham that takes Me Well in to The New Year EveryBody…because, thankfully, My Family is on The Other Side of The World 🌎 😊 πŸ˜€ πŸ˜„ ☺ ❀ 🌎 and, Being Single and having Few Friends, I AM Alone at Xmas but NOT!!! Lonely; perhaps I AM Cynical but I Find that People can be so troubled and troublesome, ergo, I Don’t Like Being Around People Very Much

    πŸ’Ž – Diamond Hard – πŸ’Ž


  7. Excellent post.
    Life changes, and not all of the changes are for the better. However, that’s how life works. What lives is love, and what is immortal is what is written. Your happiness in the face of life’s challenges is a choice, and keeping your mother’s memory and traditions alive is up to you. Choose well. It is always possible that her spirit is somewhere observing what you do.

  8. This was a touching post. I am reminded of my own mom when I read your post because she always puts pressure on my siblings and I to clean the house for Christmas.

    I also remember breaking down the Christmas after my grandpa passed away since it was the first Christmas without him. Christmas can be wonderful, and it can also suck after losing someone. It’s a reminder that their warmth and love is no longer physically present with you.

    Thank you for resharing!

  9. What a lovely walk through the different memories and movement of your loss. It has such perspective on where you were and where you are now. Grief, if we follow it, never allows us to stand still – we are always moving through it no matter what route we take.

    I write from the present to a past where I couldn’t articulate my experience. The place where I am now is safe, stable, strong and filled with the joy and wonder of all I have created. I am looking forward to a wonderful Christmas and celebrating the many achievements and the growth that I just can’t stop. I am so excited, driven by all life has to offer. Embrace everything. Wishing you all joyful wonder at Christmas. Stella

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