Christmas Angel  

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Its that time of year again, the shops are filled with Christmas goodies, nine out of ten adverts are trying to sell us overpriced toys and games that our children had no idea they wanted until they saw the adverts and the shops are filled with mums practically wrestling each other to the ground for the latest Power Ranger action figures…

My friends used to tease me mercilessly. I am as over the top about Christmas as you can get. I buy gifts through the year and by October the gifts are bought, wrapped and tagged, the cards are written and I have detailed lists and schedules of every little thing I might possibly need come the big day. I have a pad that goes under the doormat, so the mere act of stepping on it causes the mat to shout ‘Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas’ we almost gave our long suffering postman a heart attack with this one. I have snowmen that sing, reindeers that dance and a surprisingly large array of Santa’s that do both. You can’t pick up a cup or piece of crockery that doesn’t have some sort of festive being staring back at you past November in my house. Our ‘night before Christmas’ book is the one I bought the year Aaron was born 17 years ago.

But this year, like the last two, my hearts not really in it.

Christmas is the time of year when we most miss those we’ve lost. It is undeniably the hardest thing to get through without them. It doesn’t help that Aarons birthday is the 5th December, but family Christmases’ are our thing. Or they were. And although we are still a family, it feels like someone’s missing so much sometimes I can hardly catch my breath.

I know we have three children to spoil and make sure they enjoy Christmas, and we do that, but it’s not the same. The mad noisy stuff, the glitter, the over the top decorations, was mine and Aaron’s thing in a way. He often got colds and had to have time off school in winter, so we were often holed up together making Christmassy things and trying to find a spare inch of house that wasn’t already glittered to within an inch of its life. He had his favourite Christmas films that we started watching daily from October onwards and as for the Christmas CD’s…need I say more.

Aaron was the one who dragged me to every shopping centre and garden centre within a thirty mile radius to meet every Father Christmas ever to don a false beard and padded tummy. I loved it all, the shopping, the carols, the school plays, fairs and parties, mine and Aaron’s Christmas socks, our Santa hats…

So it’s just different now. For all of us I know, but for me more than anyone. The first year after we lost Aaron we ran away, literally. We went to Orlando to spend Christmas with family there. Not because we thought we could escape Christmas, but because we had to escape the place we spent it with Aaron. Last year we stayed home but I thought my heart was going to break on Christmas morning as I walked past his closed bedroom door.

So this year, we’re doing a bit of both, we’re taking the kids away to Orlando to visit family, and we come back on boxing day. We’ll still have the tree and family get together in both places, and we’ll just have to try and accept that Aaron is with us in a different way.

It is only our third Christmas without Aaron, so we expect it to be hard. But I can’t imagine a Christmas, in all the years to come where there’s not a physical pain, a longing so great it’s hard to imagine looking forward to it ever again.

Deep down, I know this is not what Aaron would want, I know he would want us to be happy, play and laugh, and I really try. On an every day basis, that does work, even if sometimes I’m just putting a brave face on it. But that brave face is harder to maintain over the time when we should be celebrating his birthday and Christmas together.

So we are taking it a Christmas at a time, hoping for a time when the smiles come easier, but also dreading it because in a way I am terrified it might lessen the connection I feel with my Christmas angel.

Sally xxx

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