Are we all ready to embrace 2015? How was Christmas for you? As you may be aware, I adore Christmas and everything that comes with it. I gleefully put up as many trees and decorations around the house as possible. I still firmly believe that there is no such thing as too much bling.
I had a lovely Christmas day with my family and was fortunate to ring in the New Year in a gorgeous hotel.
But this year the joy of Christmas and the excitement of ringing in the New Year had a shadow cast over it. The twinkling lights in our hearts were dimmed and much of our laughter was silenced leaving us reeling in shock as we learned of the sudden death of a friend on Christmas day.
I cannot begin to imagine what his family are going through, as we are all heartbroken in my house. I know our sorrowful thoughts and feelings are only a drop in the ocean of tears that his nearest and dearest are still shedding. In fact, I know I don’t even have the right to say we are grieving in comparison to his family.
But this unthinkably sad event at such a poignant time of the year has led me to re-visit the fact that I am incredibly grateful to be here on this earth.
Have no fear, I’m not attempting to convince you or even myself that I will suddenly become exceedingly virtuous nor am I considering growing a halo over the next twelve months. But there is no denying that tragedy has a massive impact on many lives and this one has made me sadly pensive to say the very least.
Not for the first time in my existence, I wish I could change what has happened. But I know that cannot be. The finality of death and the heart wrenching reminder of how fragile us human beings are has made me more reflective than usual as we said goodbye to one year and welcomed another.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only one way forward. I must recognise how lucky I am. How lucky my family is. How fortunate we are to be together. I know that same conclusion cannot be easily or swiftly reached by those directly affected by troubles and strife this Christmas. But I am trying to find the half full glass attitude that I’ve managed to maintain so many times before. I don’t mind admitting I’m struggling right now.
I, like many others, have lost far too many people I love. I only made it to my late teens before I witnessed my first taste of intense grief. I now know that time can help to heal the pain. Perhaps not entirely, but the gaping fresh wounds do become less raw eventually. I wish I had a magic wand, one that wipes away tears and replaces them with laughter, but alas such a thing hasn’t made it’s way to my door just yet.
So what do I suggest? If you’ve found yourself in the doldrums, what’s the answer?
There’s no simple one. No quick fix that will soothe all pain. But I think a good place to start finding answers is within our own hearts. So, I know it’s not original and it has been done many times before, but I am setting about writing a gratitude diary this year. I won’t do it on social media, nor will I necessarily make an entry every single day. But I will place a small appealing-to-the-eye notebook beside my bed. I will make a little promise to take the time to record as much positivity as I can muster. It can be anything from enjoying a decent cup of coffee when I’m tired to seeing my daughter smile (she’s a teenager, it’s kind of a rarity right now!) to writing three thousand words in one productive day at the office.
This has worked for me before and I know it will help again. It’s not that magic wand I crave, but it’s a small step in the right direction. I know for a fact that the only way out of an adverse situation is by putting one foot in front of the other and taking each day as it comes.
In general I don’t normally have any problem coming up with positive thoughts. In fact they usually come to me readily and in abundance. But as I said, I’m not brimming with that usual delight just now.
I’m a thousand miles from feeling defeated however. I know from past experience that my inert sense of hope and happiness will be restored with the passage of time. It’s in my nature to be bubbly and cheerful. But I’m not worried about myself in the long term… I guess I wanted to reach out and empathise with anyone who has suffered devastating circumstances, especially around Christmas time.
You see, my continuing cancer journey over the past eight years has been made one thousand per cent more “doable” by simply writing and talking.
I know I am not alone because people interact with me on a daily basis. I share my stories and all kinds of people reciprocate. It’s a wonderful and powerful process where communication breaks down barriers and umpteen walls of previously stony scary silences. So I hope that by writing about my feelings of grief today, that my words will strike a chord with the people who need it. My aim today is to communicate one small message. That no matter what life has thrown at you in recent times, I urge you to try to believe that there is still a glimmer of hope out there… Even if it’s only a tiny ember that’s struggling to glow at the bottom of a chamber of darkness… It may even appear to be hiding completely from you right now… But my wish is that each and every person reading this finds solace, human kindness and happiness at some point this year.
Apologies if this seems like a dreadfully sombre New Year’s message. Like a God-awful and depressing country and western song… I don’t mean to rain on the parade of the happy and glittery and fluffy folks. I promise I’ll be back in the land of fun and frolics very soon. After all it’s hard to keep me down. I often think I’m like one of those effervescent dissolvable fizzy vitamin C tables. I might be at the bottom of the water this second. But I’ll bubble back up to the top of the glass and do little spitty sparkles all over the back of your hand before long!
After all, I am truly grateful for so many things. I am grateful to be alive and well. I am grateful for my husband, children, family and friends. I am grateful for my very badly behaved (but adorable) dog Herbie and my noisy and wonderful asthmatic cat Tom. I am grateful for my job, which I adore. I am grateful, full stop.
Happy New Year to you all and I hope 2015 shines brightly and brings a multitude of blessings your way.
Love and light & fizzy vitamin C tablets
Emma x x x