This year there has just been the 2 rounds of Christmas – MotH’s family last night and then my family today on Boxing Day. Usually it’s three, with Dad joining us for Christmas Day lunch but he’s ill this time around and sitting things out.
Last night was fabulous fun, as per usual. The hail storms and torrential rain added a somewhat surreal atmosphere but for the most part we stayed dry. Our garage sadly cannot claim the same. We arrived home from my mother-in-law’s about 11.30pm to find that water levels had raised enough to completely flood the garage, through to the courtyard – washing a garden full of tanbark with it. Not any real damage, just mess. The watermark on the bricks at the front of the house indicate the water was about 10cm high, so it’s probably best we weren’t there as we would have been slightly freaked and there’s not a lot we could do anyway.
Today my older brother’s family joined us for lunch, as well as my late brother’s partner. We had a lovely day, though with both my father and brother not present there were some quiet pauses of thoughtfulness and sorrow. As mentioned above my father is ill at the moment – not serious, just a tragic cold. But I trust his call – if he says he’s not up to it I know he’s not mucking around. I was a bit surprised though that he hadn’t warned the others, who were all taken aback when he wasn’t there. The thought did cross my mind that perhaps in his slightly frail condition (read blocked nose, raging throat, thumping headache) he may not have been up to the first Christmas without Geoff which is why he stayed away. He has a great deal of respect and real fondness for my brother’s partner Gabrielle, but I don’t think he copes well with her public grief. This is not to say her grief is all consuming, but I think she may be the constant reminder that Geoff is gone.
We did nothing special today to mark that Geoff was not there. We talked of him but briefly and occasional, his name entering the conversation no more than usual. Yet it was usually followed by a pause. We focused today on the kids, which is what we do each Christmas as they add that true joy to the occasion.
All together it was an enjoyable day. I know it was hardest on Gabrielle who put on a very brave face to come. I do think she enjoyed it though. In some ways today was Round 2 for getting on with life without him. His birthday was Round 1, Christmas – Round 2. I hope for her the ensuing rounds are easier to bear.
I didn’t mean to end on a sad note, but most have someone they miss at this time of the year. For me it’s my mum, and now my brother. I am so lucky though to have others I love around me to remind me to enjoy the memories and not miss out on the great times by dwelling elsewhere. I hope others are as lucky as I.