Last weekend my beloved laptop gave me the black screen of death, it’s taken me the best part of a week to get the old desktop back up and running, the majority of which is waiting for webpages to load. It’s like being fifteen years old all over again. I jest though, I’ve used this opportunity to be internet free and to revel in the festive time of year. But I couldn’t miss an opportunity to wish all my followers, viewers and anyone passing through a very Merry Christmas. Though with the speed of this computer it may be posted not for this year but for 2017 instead.
In the grand scheme of things, they have vastly improved since last years annual Christmas celebrations. On Christmas Eve 2015 my Pa was released from hospital after a terrifically awful bout of pneumonia and a drastic deterioration in his lung disease. Over the past twelve months he has fought back tremendously, is mobile again and mostly independent, though unfortunately it is something that will never get better. It will plateau and give us time at best.
This year has taught me a lot of things about myself. Things that maybe I knew but never acknowledged. Courage has been one of them. If I were to sit down and truly reflect on the situation I’m in then I might break apart. When realising how fragile my Father is, when rushing to his aid with morphine or to hold his arm when he feels unsteady. When sitting down and truly thinking that my future with my Father might not stretch as long as I’d once hoped and that maybe I might never make enough of myself in his lifetime for him to be truly proud of me. But to put all this to one side and keep going, to smile in the face of Hospice workers and the tremendous people who provide support than to fall apart in their arms with grief. There is one thing I tell him, that I probably tell myself more. You are not dead yet.
Whilst we may not live out the wonderful ideas he had for retirement, there is still plenty of opportunity to live the life we have been blessed with. And now we share it with the most wonderfully inspiring, brave and inspiring souls. My Father’s Consultant who subtly smiles at his poor taste in jokes whilst trying to remain positive, the GP who drops round out of the blue to simply chat and catch up, the hospice staff and volunteers who every Thursday let him eat among others and talk about his aspirations of learning Latin as well as treating him to Reflexology massages, the Oxygen delivery chap who is tremendously stubborn and would drive to the moon and back to ensure my Father gets the support he requires and the brilliant Breathe Easy group members who have clutched me and him into their open arms welcoming into their community.
Christmas is a cliche for spending time with your loved ones. Some of us are blessed yet there are those who have lost and will be grieving or struggling this time of year. I know one day, regardless of my Father’s illness that I will be one of those lost souls. But as I keep saying, he is not dead yet. The time is not to grieve, but to celebrate and create wonderful memories.
However, if you are alone this Christmas then Standard Issue run a fantastic campaign on Christmas Day under the hashtag Join In. A brilliant way for lonely souls to come together and though I will be surrounded by family, I’ll be sure to join in.
At the end of the day we are all a community and whilst the social media feeds and news channels are filled with devastation and pain. We still have each other. Take a moment this Christmas to talk. Talk to whoever. The dog or the cat even. Switch off and revel in the moment but know there is someone always there, whether it be us on Twitter, the Samaritans or whomever you feel comfortable with. You don’t have to face this time of year alone if it does nothing but fill you with dread.
For one thing I have learned this year is that kindness can most often be found in the company of strangers if you just let them into your lives.
Have a wonderful, calm and peaceful Christmas everyone.