Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Thoughts and Memories on Christmas Past

Traditionally Christmas is a time we spend with the people we love most in the world so when one of those people dies it can really put a damper on the whole festive feel. I remember my first Christmas without Jonathan. I spent most of it with his family as I knew they were the most likely to share my sentiments regarding the ignoring it as much as possible method of survival. I know my own family were hurt that I didn’t want to be with them but that was only part of it, I knew I didn’t have it in me to really celebrate and I thought at least this way they could get some joy though I know they missed Jonathan too and that it was a hard day for them. Thing is we have different coping mechanisms. My parents were considerate enough to come south and spend it with my brother as he lived close to Jonathan’s family. I therefore only had a short drive on Christmas day to have dinner with them. I was there for two hours. For the whole two hours my brother insisted we have Christmas songs. I know I failed totally in the Christmas cheer aspect. I know it wasn’t all about me and I tried but I also know I failed. I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. I didn’t want to listen to Christmas songs. I didn’t want to pretend everything was normal when it blatantly wasn’t. I comfort myself with the fact I know I did my best yet am human enough to wish my best had been better. After two hours I returned to Jonathan’s parent’s house, lit a candle for Jonathan in his garden then watched one of the Final Destination films. The day had a slight moment of amusement when I decided to recite a poem I had written for Jonathan previously and got the words wrong, I know that would have amused him more than if I had got it right.By bed time I was just glad the day was over and I had survived. The next day though my feeling of achievement took a bettering when I woke up and immediately I fell to pieces the next morning, However I eventually pulled myself together enough to visit my parents and brother then my Aunt and cousins where I actually had a pretty good time.

When New Years came my parents were back up north and I opted to spend it with Jonathan’s parents. Everyone was adamant that I wasn’t allowed to go to bed and ignore it. This was something else I had to do. As the bells drew closer I couldn’t stand it. I left their house and went to Jonathans friends flat. They were very kind but there were three couples and me. We toasted the bells in misery together then I left. On the way home I remember crying so much I was sick. I used to always cry when I left his friends, it was so wrong to be with them without him. After all that it is probably unsurprising when I tell you this was when I decided to leave the country. In the days following new years I just knew I couldn’t do it again. It was too hard and too painful and I wanted out. I knew that I would be hurting my friends and family but at this point I didn’t think I had it on me to do it all pver again

Nine months later I was unemployed. Ten months later I left the UK for the USA. Eleven months later and I was back in the UK. Despite my initial decision to bow out I had since decided to stay until the following March. I would do one more of every blasted hard day then I was out of there. Of course this was the year it snowed so instead of spending Christmas and New Year between both families I ended up being snowed in with my parents. It wasn’t so bad. It was very low key and I had my own room to go and hide in when necessary which had a candle burning in it all day for my Jonathan. My brother came up later on in the day so really it was a Christmas evening which suited me fine. On New Years I went for dinner and a few drinks with my cousin and some good friends. At the bells we toasted the future and Jonathan. I had asked my cousin but was touched when a number of my friend also wanted to toast him. It was a good start to the new year and it turned out to be a good indication of the year to come.

I can safely say 2011 was good to me. I had many wonderful opportunities and met some amazing people. I am more grateful for my family and friends back home than I have ever been and miss and love them dearly, even though I’m not ready to come home just yet. I’ve grown and discovered a lot about myself, some good some not so good but all worth knowing. More importantly I can look back at those first two holiday seasons and see the effort everyone put in to taking care of me even though they were hurting too and even though I couldn’t see it then.

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