I’ve heard it called all sorts, from the U rated ‘betwixtmas’ to the closer to the knuckle ‘festive perineum’ (although I can confirm the perineum is NOWHERE near your knuckle).
For most, the lull after the frenzy of Christmas and before the giddiness of New Year is full of bloat and bewilder. Chain eating cheese with crackers and washing down with a gout inducing array of festive booze. Of finally conceding to eat the strawberry and orange creams out of desperation and boredom.
For me, this year, RD’s memory sparkled in the lead up to Christmas. His spirit felt present in the magic shining in his siblings eyes. He was in the strong smell of pine, the twinkling lights, the sound of sleigh bells. He existed within the happiness and love shared between family and friends.
Not that he and Christmas always had a positive association- for three of his Christmases we spent within the confines of a hospital. There were only two where he could bizz around on his Scooot, but by god they were amazing. He felt involved and connected.
This year marked our third Christmas without him and we had a really good Christmas. It felt fresh and new and full of promise, my sister did a cracking job and it was easy to stay in the moment. Plus DD was so full to the brim with excitement it rubbed off on all of us. Especially BD who ran round in circles excited by something he didn’t understand.
After the last Brussel had been reheated, the carcass of the meat picked over and rustled up into something, I suddenly felt kneecapped by grief. As if I’d fallen off the Christmas cliff. I felt that bone grinding exhaustion take over, my eyes hurt.
The Christmas lights now looked forlorn, and I couldn’t find RD in the wreckage of wrapping paper and pulled crackers. There, in front of me was 2019. And yet again, he wasn’t going to physically move forward with us.
That feels as desperate as it sounds, and for all that we’ve moved forward as a family this year, it can be the sneaky bastard that grounds us. A desperate longing for the past (and naturally a positively edited version of it).
I know from experience that tomorrow will be okay though. A new dawn will still hold the same promise, the love for RD will shine on into our lifetimes. We are here for him, to keep him alive when he can’t be. And that’s pretty motivational.