I’m currently feeling hugely conflicted by Christmas approaching ever faster.
Without meaning to sound like a broken record, since my Dad died, stuff like Christmas has been much tougher. Oddly the second Christmas was much worse than the first one. I think the first one was just a case of survival. Me and my Mum were just pleased to get through it, we didn’t have any expectations for it other than to try to not cry quite as much as we thought we would.
The second Christmas was tough though. With the best will in the world, a lot of people (not all fortunately) didn’t get it. They figured that as we’d got through the first one, we’d be fine for the second one. In reality, it was worse. We knew that we could survive it but this time we wanted to enjoy it. It didn’t really work. The actual day and following week was ok but before that, it was terribly stressful, mostly because of the expectations we placed upon ourselves.
To be fair, the second Christmas wasn’t helped by the fact that I was still recovering from my broken foot. I had very low self confidence and also couldn’t walk for long distances which isn’t very useful amidst Christmas shoppers. Plus I returned to work shortly after Christmas too which was rather stressful. If you’re someone who feels much more vulnerable around happy families, working in retail at Christmas is not a great idea.
This is the third Christmas. There’s a part of me that wonders if maybe I should be fine with it all now. The other part of me thinks the first part of me is an idiot. Christmas was a huge family thing for us and my Dad absolutely loved it. It was a rod for our own backs really as now it makes it all the harder.
In my household, we’d have a big Christmas day with just the three of us, loads of presents and loads of food. Boxing Day would be spent with my Aunt, Uncle, Grandmother and cousins. Then the week between Christmas and New Year was spent visiting other friends and generally doing as little as possible.
We were lucky in this respect that as my Dad worked for the University, he wouldn’t have to go to work during this time. He had essays to mark frequently but that’s not as bad as having to go to work!
It was a brilliant time and I have so many fond memories of Christmas. I feel very lucky that I had these times. I know that a good friend of mine growing up had parents who worked for the NHS and worked shifts which caused havoc with Christmas sometimes. I was lucky that I had the idyllic Christmas.
That’s also what makes it all the more bittersweet now though. I still feel cheated that I don’t get it like that any more. Me and my Mum will still be celebrating but it’ll be tinged with a lot of sadness and upset.
I still find myself oddly excited though which I didn’t really feel last year. I think the novelty of being able to walk is quite a help. Also this is the first Christmas since my Dad died that I’m not working. My time is actually my own again during this time which is rather weird.
I wonder if this year will be the first year since he died that we manage to watch Love Actually? We used to watch it every Christmas to get into the spirit.