Loss at Christmas
It’s nearly the Christmas holidays. Steeped heavily in tradition and memories, it can be a particularly tough time to get through when you’ve lost someone you love.
The following is a personal account from someone who’s father is missed each Christmas.
It was about half 5 and I had just spent an hour cooking a curry for friends of mine.
My brother told me to come home. Simple as that.
It took me two hours to get the courage to do it. I sat outside the screen cinema with my then girlfriend unable to speak.
I couldn’t find my keys to the front door but it opened to reveal my family standing in the hallway, cut down with emotion.
They didn’t have the heart to ring me on the bus to tell me he had passed away.
I think I could still paint the scene now. My brothers and mother in the hallway. It has a resonance with me that few moments can match when it comes to my mind, which it often does.
We had been told that week that he was going to make it past Christmas. He would see the first of his grand children be born. The last time I saw him was in a hotel during that week.
He was up for medical treatment and we had dinner together with my mum. The last time I saw him alive was in the lobby of the hotel standing in front of the lift.
I went home to finish an essay but my mind was miles away, back in the hotel, picturing my father.
I had no idea that would be the last time I saw him alive.
Every year we drink to his memory. I was in my early twenties when he passed away. It is not easy, still is not easy. It’s been five years but his presence is real in my life. He is not here in the form I would want.
There are times when his memory hurts and there are times when all I want to do is make a man proud of his son.
This is not always possible and to be fair, how could it be. He is a living memory now but one that is kept alive by a family who loved him dearly.
It is sad that his presence in my life is in memories but at least they are my memories of a man I loved. Christmas is tainted by his death, but it is a time when my family makes a special effort to be with each other.