♫ I’ll be home for Christmas… ♫
In just twenty days I’ll be flying over the Pacific ocean to be with my family for Christmas. Each morning on my way to work, I play some Feliz Navidad and imagine us all together. It’s honestly becoming quite difficult to resist skipping down the streets and starting a musical.
This Christmas I intend on changing the somber mood that has clouded over the holiday since Elizabeth died. It’s been a particularly painful time of year to get through. This year I want to turn it into something different.
From when I was a little girl up until to my adult years, nothing was more magical to me than Christmas time. It just made me so incredibly happy to spend uninterrupted time with my family. Even as a teenager when caring about Christmas became uncool and my sister and I would have horribly long drawn-out arguments. We’d fight about literally everything. Like the selfish person who ate the last Yorkshire pudding (usually me) even though it was being savoured (usually by Elizabeth), or, the timeless debate of who gets the front seat during car rides. Although our arguments would take hours to diffuse and required every last ounce of patience in me to beg for her forgiveness outside her locked bedroom door, I still loved it. No matter how big or small the argument, by the morning a truce would be called and all would be forgotten. We’d both be too tired or lazy to start fighting. My mum would be in the kitchen making us all Eggs Benedict while my dad would be sitting in the living room watching Scrooge with my dog on his lap. It’d be a blizzard snowstorm outside and warm and cozy inside. My sister and I would usually be puttering around the house, examining our new gifts. When breakfast was ready, we’d all gather around to eat our Eggs Benny from our steaming hot porcelain plates. Nothing made me as happy as those moments. I don’t know how else to describe the feeling other than to say it felt like love. The kind that requires absolutely nothing of you, other than to show up.
Until of course, Elizabeth was no longer a part of it.
This Christmas, though, will be different. I will be bringing my amazing French boyfriend to Canada with me. He will get to meet my parents and extended family for the very first time. I know he will fit right in, I know my parents will love him. I think that having him there will bring a different spark and new energy to our family Christmas.
I don’t expect it will take away the pain of missing Elizabeth. I know there will be moments when her presence will be severely missed, and I know my parents and I will feel it more viscerally than anyone else in the room. I anticipate that. But I hope that in between those moments of heartbreak, there is laughter as we reminisce about happy memories too. Elizabeth would want that. My parents and I know that if she was here, she’d be showering us in an insane amount of gifts. I like to imagine she will be up there, eating her pickles and calamari, asking us to please forgive her for missing Christmas, again. I can’t make it home this year, I wish I could, I really do. But I’m watching from up here. I promise you I am.
Looking back now, if I’d known that those Christmas’ when my sister and I were fighting over the last Yorkshire pudding were numbered, I might’ve acted differently. I may not have been more mature, but I most certainly would have changed my focus to enjoying the moment I had with her sitting beside me. I would do whatever I could to hold on go to it in my mind forever.
I know that in general, Christmas can be a stressful and hectic time of year. Even without the loss of a loved one, it can still be painful. I suppose it’s kind of expected that when you bring many family members together for many days at a time to celebrate a highly stressful and demanding holiday, madness inevitably ensues. I guess its all a part of the package; it’s all a part of being an imperfect human being. But when you stop for a second and realise that these moments, with these people, in this exact time, is soon going to be a memory, it’s hard not to enjoy it all for what it is.
Even with the madness, the drama, and the fights over the last Yorkshire pudding.
“When we recall Christmas past
we usually find that the simplest things,
not the great occasions,
give off the greatest glow of happiness.”
~ Bob Hope
“Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.”
~ B. C. Forbes
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
~ Oren Arnold
“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”
~ Winston Churchill