‘Deck the halls with holly’ go the lyrics.
‘’Tis the season to be jolly.’
Such as for one couple. For unto them a baby boy is born. And we rejoice.
After enduring the rigours of an in vitro-fertilization program, they welcomed their son into this world on the afternoon of the 7th of November 2013 – at 4.07pm to be precise. Weighing 3310gms and 52cm in length, his parents were ‘truly delighted and thankful for his good health’.
And for these brand new parents, so too the gift of renewed joy with which they now celebrate Christmas.
But for others, this time of the year is fraught; especially, for those grieving the loss of a loved one.
‘It’s just not right,’ says my friend over lunch. ‘A parent is not supposed to bury their child.’
‘How’s your sister coping?’
‘Not good. It’s Christmas in a couple of weeks and she’s still refusing to take part in the season’s festivities. She just doesn’t want to know about it.’
I think about my dad who still refuses point-blank to ever again visit mum’s favourite holiday destination.
And then there is Paris who lost interest in going for walkies after Lucy died.
For my parents, a shared history of over sixty years is rich in memories. And in human years, Paris and Lucy had been the best of mates for fifty-six years.
‘Perhaps the memories of past family get-togethers are just too painful, too raw.’ I say. ‘Perhaps in her mind’s eye she still sees her daughter’s smiling and happy face at the last Christmas they spent together. And it is just possible your sister feels guilty. Because she’s still here.’
My friend nods in agreement. ‘Possibly,’ she says.
Again I reflect. On my last visit to the small rural community where my dad lives, he happily introduced me to his new social circle. More importantly though, he no longer dwells on mum’s last days on this earth – nor contemplates the ‘what ifs’.
As for Paris, after her initial disgust with me in bringing home a puppy, she’d be the first to tell you, if she could talk, that Zac is her new best(est) friend. And it gladdens my heart to see both dogs enjoy their visits to the local park.
‘Perhaps,’ I say to my friend. ‘It’s time to create new family traditions. You know, as a way of respecting those who are no longer physically with us, but to also help those who grieve to get on with the job of living.’
‘Yes, I think you’re right,’ says my friend with a look of steely determination. ‘I do believe enough now. It’s time for a fresh start.’
Copyright Jo 2013