I cannot dwell on the amount of celebrity deaths this year. Yes, the Grim Reaper has got hold of some very talented people and I have been saddened to see so many lives being taken at a relatively young age. I will miss the music, comedy and philosophy of individuals who clearly embodied an edge of genius and uniqueness. However, I cannot embrace the #curseof2016 notion.
We have been lucky, we have been blessed with life, not everyone has. As we placed our paper hats on our heads this Christmas Day, retrieved the usual bounty of cracker gifts from the floor and poised ourselves ready to launch into the cacophony of meat and veg, we pressed Mr Brown to make a speech. His speech was simple, “I’m just so glad we’re all at the table. Let’s eat”.
If 2016 has taught us anything it is to enjoy the now, relish the good in people and do not compare yourself to others. We have no idea what other people are going through. Be kind, be gracious and say you’re sorry when you know you should. Accept that you can’t do everything and you can’t be everything for everyone. You can just try as hard as you can.
Despite everything, I have a great deal of time and respect for 2016. It has taught me a lot. Money can’t buy life, family and friends give you strength you never knew you had and people are essentially good.
Enjoy the last few days of 2016, I hope they are a blast!
Nothing matches or coordinates but I love our Christmas tree and all that it symbolises. The kids and Dad would love a tree that is coordinated: Felix would love a tree adorned with silver and white whereas Dad would love a ‘Red and Black’ theme to symbolise the support from our local team. However, I will continue to fight for our Tree of Tat because it is symbolic of who we are and where we are at.
Christmas is a strange old-time for so many of us. Whilst the inspirational and poignant quotes herald the warm hug that is Christmas or that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, for a lot of us it is a unique time smothered with dilemmas, angst and friction owing to the perpetuated myth of the perfect Christmas.
I know families and friends who are juggling and dodging huge family disparity in order to create the sense of the perfect Christmas. There are oncology families such as ours who are on tenterhooks about the possibility of a Christmas admission to hospital; I already know of one family who will be celebrating Christmas with thanks to the NHS and another who may have narrowly missed an admission. There are families who are not the same as they were last year for too many reasons to recount; through death or separation or conflict or love; the reasons don’t matter but the absence will.
For us, this Christmas seems somewhat unreal and unbelievable. Things seem so relatively normal that we need pinch ourselves once in a while. There are still things that remind us that it is all a bit different; our very classy starter of prawn cocktail is a no-no this year because of Felix’s restricted diet, he will still need to take his chemotherapy tablets on Christmas Day as well as his antibiotics both of which he has to take for the next 2.5 years . I will still be on high alert for a temperature spike which will mean a hospital admission and will continue to kiss his forehead more often that not knowing that he knows why. However, we will plan and we will enjoy and we won’t let this year curb our enthusiasm for enjoying our ‘new normal’.
The things that are most apparent as we reflect on this year are very simple in their entirety. They are poignant and uplifting in their nature. These things have kept us going. They are simple. People are essentially good. People are kind. People are gracious. People really do have a heart of gold. In our age of social media and harsh comparisons of what is deemed to be the ‘ideal woman’,’perfect mum’,’top dad’ or ‘happy family’ the one thing that we rarely commend each other for is that everyone we have met or corresponded with are amazingly ‘good people’. That’s what Christmas should be about, celebrating ‘good people’. Good people are like our Tree of Tat. These trees are filled with experience, love and tenderness which cannot be bought or replicated but developed over years. Christmas should be about goodness, kindness, grace and love for all; not just on one day but everyday.
Everyone should have a Tree of Tat, small or large so that when they are faced with dilemmas, angst or friction they can admire their lovingly developed tree and remember the good people in their lives that have been with them that year and will continue to be with them in the following year.
Merry Christmas to all of you on our Tree of Tat and thank you all so much for your love and support this year. Here’s to 2017!