1. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya, havent logged in for a while - just been catching up with some posts and read the thread 'A Carers Christmas'.

    Mum died in July after many years of living with dementia. I am still coming to terms with her death but that is a different story. Dont know for how many years my sons and I have packed the car up on Christmas morning and gone to mum and dads so that we could all be together. Last year we all went to the Nursing Home and spent the morning there, and then later I pushed mum home in a wheel chair for Christmas dinner.(Not that she could join us at the table, but she was with us).

    This year we are going to stay at home. Dad is talking about going up to the Nursing Home Christmas morning - before we pick him up for a late Christmas dinner, and then he will spend the evening with us. A friend suggested I got a candle for mum - to light as we eat, so once again she will in the midst of us. I have her photo in the lounge and will buy her some flowers for Christmas. It will be a poignant time - but it will be ok - a new beginning.

    I have some good Christmas memories and some sad ones - have never thought of it as being a happy clappy time. I refuse to get caught up in that expectation. It is about being able to be honest with our emotions - to acknowledge our pain and loss, but also to acknowledge the joy and hope of other family members and friends. I know that I will cry on Christmas Day, but I also know that I will laugh and love - and I know that all those emotions are OK.

    Love Helen
     
  2. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    I have some good Christmas memories and some sad ones - have never thought of it as being a happy clappy time. I refuse to get caught up in that expectation. It is about being able to be honest with our emotions - to acknowledge our pain and loss, but also to acknowledge the joy and hope of other family members and friends. I know that I will cry on Christmas Day, but I also know that I will laugh and love - and I know that all those emotions are OK.

    Love Helen[/QUOTE]

    Beautiful sentiments Helen, and so well said.

    Love your thought of a candle too, remembering all the while.

    Thank you .
     
  3. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Not looking forward to Christmas,I will be with the Sons and the Granddaughters.
    I like the candle idea,flowers?I buy flowers every week for Peg,she loved them.
    I will be sad on Christmas day,but inside I am sad every day.
    Norman
     
  4. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Dearest Norman,
    Peg would not want you to be sad every day - yes she would want you to remember her with love, and she would understand your hurt.

    Christmas will be hard - but look at those beautiful grandaughters on Christmas Day, and see Peg shine in them. For without her, they would not be - what a legacy! And give them a special hug, because your arms are now Peg's, and I am sure she would want her grandaughters to feel safe, and loved. And a candle? A source of light, warmth, comfort - and tell the family that it is Pegs presence in the midst of you all.

    Norman I am sure that there will be sadness in your heart, just as there will be with my dad on Christmas Day - you both lost your life partners, but I hope and pray for both of you that there will also be some peace, and joy in the love that still surrounds you. You are both fortunate men - but maybe it is a reflection of who you are - that you have family and friends who care about you, that need you.

    Love Helen
     
  5. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    Dear Amy,
    What a lovely idea, to light a candle for your Mum at Christmas time.

    I'm not looking forward to Christmas really as it seems such a sad time. My Mum died in May this year and two years ago she spent her first Christmas in the Nursing Home and was so distressed. It was heart breaking.

    Last year she was more settled, but didn't really know it was Christmas and then she was poorly on Boxing Day. It was also the first Christmas after my mother-in-law's death.

    This year we shall be on our own Christmas morning, because my son isn't coming home until the afternoon and my daughter will be spending Christmas Day with her fiancee's family, as they came to us last year.

    I can't seem to raise any enthusiasm for Christmas shopping at the moment and I'm also recovering from a bad cold. When I see bunches of flowers in the shops, I think of Mum, but I can't bring myself to buy some as it reminds me of all those trips to the Nursing Home.

    I think I might actually feel better if there was something to be angry about, but I couldn't fault the treatment Mum had in the NH or at hospital, when she died suddenly. Everything happened so quickly, I don't feel like I've had a chance to catch up with events.

    It would be good to think of a way to remember our loved ones over Christmas, perhaps like lighting a candle, as Amy suggested.

    Kayla
     
  6. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Helen, that is beautiful.

    I think you've expressed exactly how so many of us feel about Christmas.

    I have my darling John, who is coming to the end of his life, and I have my very new grandson, Guy, who is just beginning his. In between, there are so many painful memories, memories that may lie beneath the surface for most of the year, but which rise inexorably every Christmas.

    But it would be even sadder if they didn't rise. It would mean that the people who had shaped our lives were no longer important to us. I think your idea of a candle is a lovely one.

    So yes, I agree that the sad feelings are important, and we should also be prepared to look forward with hope for the future.

    I wish you and your dad a loving, peaceful Christmas.
     
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,568
    Kent
    Hello Helen.
    Thank you for your post. It has hope, warmth, pathos and lots of love.
    The candle is a lovely idea, but purely symbolic, as you won`t really need a candle to feel her presence.
    Love xx
     
  8. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Helen

    I think lighting a candle is a great idea as a lit candle can represent so many things to different people; each can make it their own, with their own memories.

    Have a peaceful Christmas.
     
  9. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Kayla

    "When I see bunches of flowers in the shops, I think of Mum, but I can't bring myself to buy some as it reminds me of all those trips to the Nursing Home. "

    Come on - buy those flowers - face the pain of remembering, because only then will you be free to start to move on.
    Didnt say as I bought my candle on Friday, I had to fight back the tears, then couldnt take it out its box when I got it home.

    Sunday evening they had a bereavement service at Church, and I went. After 5 months of trying not to think, I knew that I had to start to face the truth; I think I cried from start to end.
    The candle is now sitting proudly in the middle of the dining table. I am looking forward to being able to light it, cos I know that mum will be amongst us in a special way.

    Still not ready to remember too much, nor look at old photos, but the day will come.

    Kayla, make christmas morning special for you and your husband - a time for just the two of you to celebrate and be close. You have shared yourselves with your children and your parents - Christmas morning, the time is a gift to you.

    Love Helen
     
  10. Tina

    Tina Registered User

    May 19, 2006
    420
    I have always enjoyed the run-up to Christmas and the day itself. Sometimes it was spent with this side of the family, other times with that side of the family.

    Often I've complained about the millions of people in town elbowing their way through shops, clogging up carparks and practically raiding supermarkets as though there were no tomorrow. And often I've got caught up in the stress and running around and could be seen in town on the morning of Christmas Eve doing last minute shopping. But often, too, I've found that little bit of quiet time to just sit and think. I pop into the cathedral in town during my lunch break where no one knows me and I can just savour the atmosphere and be alone with myself and my thoughts. Or I've caught up with friends I have not spoken to or heard from for ages.

    The past 13 months have meant coming to terms with the deaths of four people in the family who were, and always will be, very special to me. Christmas this year is a reflective and emotional time for me..I cry at the drop of a hat...I hear "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", or "Oh come all ye faithful", and the floodgates open. There is much sadness around and it's always there but doesn't always affect me in the same way. I'm out to work, I have a routine, I meet people, I laugh and I'm happy in company. But there is always this feeling that something isn't quite right. However,...

    I have learnt that life goes on even though I've often thought surely it must stop.

    There are people out there who still care, and there is much love and support and kindness around. The sun still shines, flowers still bloom and birds still twitter in the trees.

    My special people are always around - in different ways, at different times, but always missed and longed for and lovingly remembered.

    I have accepted that, some days, I just wake up with this great big boulder wedged beneath my chestbone and no matter how deeply I breathe in and out, it won't go away. So I just let it sit there till I find some relief. It usually comes at some point.

    I have been left a rich legacy, and I don't mean in a materialistic sense...I was privileged to have special aunts and uncles and grandparents in my life who passed on to me many things that keep me going today when I struggle. I remember funny times and I laugh. I remember sad times and I cry. I remember I always had a shoulder to cry on, someone who sympathised when things went wrong and was pleased to pieces when they went well. I find courage and comfort in the memories although often they are a reminder of what is no longer there and I don't always find it easy to think in the "oh but I was so lucky to have had them" mode...I know that, and I am grateful. But there are times when I simply miss them and wish they were here. I miss hearing the familiar voices on the phone. Things have happened in the last 13 or so months that I would have liked to share but couldn't, or at least not in the way I wanted to. I know my gramps or aunts and uncle would have been pleased about certain things, would have encouraged me in others, patted my shoulder or given me a hug when I needed it, been concerned when I was ill, been interested in what was happening in my everyday life...whether I had chosen curtains for my apartment yet, how my job was going, what holidays I've got planned, what shopping I'd done, what books I'd read, if I'd been to the theatre or seen any good exhibitions...

    So I think I will try to find a bit of quiet time in the final days before Christmas and think. And I don't mean wallowing in self-pity or dwelling on what might have been when I know full well I can't change what happened. I mean remembering the good times and the sad ones too, and thinking what the best way is to go on. And I can hear four special voices, well five including my nan who died 6 years ago, as I'm writing this....

    Love to you all,
    Tina xx
     

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