“I don’t even have time to think.”
How often do we hear that or, for that matter, say it ourselves? I know I say it more than I should, sometimes because I’m genuinely over-run with work and everyday life and, sometimes, possibly, as an excuse for avoiding taking the trouble to think about what is really important.
Well, for once, I have no excuse, real or imaginary. Five weeks ago, I contrived to fall down stairs while half asleep. Two operations and plenty of bedrest later, I’ve had the chance to reflect on a year which has had more than its share of challenges.
This Christmas, the first without Mum, was always going to be different.
My annual visit to The Firs, teasing Mum to open presents which meant less to her year-on-year, won’t happen this 25th. These visits were always very special, always a little distressing. Mum loved Christmas. No, Mum loved life but that love was all the more visible at this time of year. She loved laying out the presents when my sister and I were small, loved the challenge of cooking for her extended family, loved being the person who brought that family together. Her attention to detail, to making sure we made the most of Christmas, was a thing to behold.
She and Dad made a great team and Christmas has never been the same since they were parted. I still love the season but it isn’t quite the same.
Which brings me back to having time to think. If Mum’s dementia taught me anything – it actually taught me a great deal – it was the value of living in the moment, living for today. For Mum, there was nothing but today – not even yesterday, not even five minutes ago. My not-so-little mishap could have had a far more serious outcome. If anything could persuade me to follow Mum’s example – to make the most of life and to live for today – it was this. None of us know what is round the next corner.
Happy Christmas Mum. You will be with us, in our hearts and our minds, this year.