Four months ago I lost my father. Although he was ill, the entire process was very sudden. As a family we have been taking each day at a time but the looming Christmas season was always in the back of my mind. A Christmas without my dad. It was difficult to imagine how I was going to feel.
Being an only child, I have always played the part at Christmas. Regardless of my age. Stockings, getting up early (well, maybe not 4am in later years), nagging my dad to open presents, food, Doctor Who and feeling full in the afternoon. It all makes up for a normal Christmas day. This year, Christmas was taking place at my house and we had a full day with 7 people to cater for.
On the lead-up to Christmas I had moments where I would get teary. Thinking about what to buy my dad, then realising I didn’t need too. But I reminded myself that it is okay to be sad and it is perfectly normal to be upset, especially at this time of the year. I didn’t want the big day to be something that mum and I were going to dread, I wanted it to be a celebration. After all, dad wouldn’t want us to be sad. So I allowed myself some time to be sad, to cry a little but to also focus on the positives.
Although we are not a big family, we are going to be surrounded with people that love and support us. What is the point of being together for the day if we’re only going to be upset? So we did what we normal do. Come Christmas Eve, we were in the pub. The same pub that we went too with Dad last year. On Christmas Day, we got up, went for a run and then came back to embark on presents and turkey cooking.
You know what? The day was great. We had a wonderful time surrounded with friends, family, food and drink. My mum was smiling, which meant a lot to me.
There were a couple of tough moments but Dad was in my thoughts and my heart for most of the day.
I think the most important thing to remember at Christmas is that it is just a day. There are going to be lots of things that remind you of the person you have lost but try to use those memories as a positive thing. Have a laugh and smile at the moments you had together. Don’t forget to give yourself time to grieve. You will get sad but remember that it is also okay to smile, have fun and enjoy yourself too.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Plan a nice day and most of all raise a glass to absent family and friends whilst acknowledging their presence in your hearts.