Seasonal emotions

Today is the last day of work before Christmas – three sleeps to go.

A strange mix of emotion permeates me. I’m looking forward to the break, and have a generally positive perspective on this time of year. I love the festivities, the good cheer, the general uprise in hope. There’s something about witnessing the anticipation and joy of others, particularly children, that is uplifting. I find myself with a cock-eyed smile often, and even sometimes feel a bit misty.

Christmas by itself hasn’t much relevance to me on a personal level, but that’s not something that troubles me. I’ve accepted this is the case, and in any case, a lot of it is my choice – and I’m pretty confident things will change sooner rather than later. Things will be better, and that’s enough.

The last few days though I’ve felt this distant, but persistent sorrow. It’s a strange feeling taken with everything else. It pulls me up a little short. I can’t quite commit to being happy because there is a decent part of me that is sad.

It’s this time of year, and what I feel is repeated all over the world by millions of people. Christmas can be a hard time. Fortunately, I don’t feel that. What I feel is what I remember – what I have lost, which is very human. At this time of year, I remember mum.

It’s not just that Christmas is traditionally a time for family. Mum was one of those people who took to Christmas like a kid. She was always the most enthusiastic of all of us. She was a Christmas specialist.

She was exuberant and often over the top. Even to the most cynical – as I was occasionally, almost professionally – her antics were infectious. There was an innocence to her joy, unaffected and untainted by years of life. This was her time, and by being close to her, it became our time too.

That’s what I remember, and that’s what I miss. It seems so sad not to have that in my life anymore. If I’m purely selfish, I miss having someone like her to excite me to laughter and joy and affectionate remembrance. And of course, everything fell apart once she was gone. There’s no-one else like her, and probably never will be again. And that’s what I feel, a sorrow I can’t shake even as I go about things brightly. It is what it is.

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