Tuesday, 20 October 2009

May we all be together next year

I am a strong believer that Christmas is a time to gather with family and friends to take stock of the year gone by, and the one ahead.

A time for amazing meals gathered around an enormous table where everyone has to loosen belts and undo buttons to make room for the excess of food. With lots of good wine and fantastic cheese and no holding back. Where families and friends can debate and laugh and unwind together, often gathering all in one place for the first time in a year.

I am well aware how truly lucky I am that I enjoy a Christmas like this. A celebration without family feuds, toasting good health and happiness - I count my lucky stars every day. Last year was not like this; my darling, wonderful Granny had died less than a fortnight before.

We gathered in grief and sorrow, not that my family would every really call it this. There was no funeral, or memorial, at my grandpa's insistence. Instead my mother, auntie, uncle along with their partners and children (myself included) stood in a sad looking crematorium on a bleak day in Newton Abbot, cried a few awkward tears, sung a strange sounding children's nursery song that had been a favourite of hers and left.

Our grandparents (we only ever knew our maternal granny and granpda, my dad's parents died before I was born) typically didn't join us for Christmas, preferring their own company and the home comforts of their little cottage in Sussex. So last Christmas was no different, in theory.

We laughed and ate and drunk too much - like any other year - but there was a deep, lingering feeling that this was not how it should be.

Throughout her life, whenever my granny was asked to make a wish she would always quietly say "may we all be together, safe and sound, next year", and this time we were not. We went through the motions but there were no gifts, no Christmas tree and every time we lifted our glasses to toast one another we only thought of her.

This is the first time I have written about her, and it won't be the last. Having had no funeral I never got to talk about how incredible she was to anyone but my friends. It just isn't really the done thing with my family, we prefer to quip and argue and tease and outwit each other- and I like it that way.

Needless to say this Christmas will, I hope, be different to the last. Gathering all together for the first time this year we will indulge and celebrate and toast each other...and crack open the most expensive and delicious bottle of bubbly of all in celebration of my darling, darling granny Katy.

1 comment:

  1. I lost a grandparent just before Christmas in 2008. It was her favourite time of year and she didn't get to see it one more time. My empathies to you.


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