Matt and I were together for less than four years. And yet, with all our shared parenting issues, the years living apart, our kids being here and there, etc, we managed to spend every single Christmas Day of those years together. Two by ourselves, and one with my family. Oddly I find some comfort in that, though I can’t for the life of me explain why, especially when he wasn’t here today. And I knew today was going to be tough and emotional and challenging, and it was. So I was prepared for that, and I wasn’t wrong.
Sadly I can’t remember in detail what we did last year. I really wish I could, but even Facebook refrained from telling me what we did. But I do know it was good. It’s just that we were busy being us, having a good time, doing what we wanted in our own little bubble, without pressure or obligations. So we didn’t feel the need to record it, to share it with the world. Obviously now I’m wishing we had. But how was I supposed to know that a year later I would be wishing I had documented every single bit of that day, so that I could now re-read it over and over, and remember and relive every single moment? 20/20 hindsight 🙁
But I guess that’s almost the point. Because it just shows, and reminds me, as if I needed reminding, that Matt and I neither needed, nor wanted anyone else. I mentioned it a while ago, but not long before he died, we had a conversation about who we’d call in extremis. And when it boiled down to it, for both of us, neither of us wanted to call anyone else. We just wanted to call each other. We were always with each other, and if we weren’t, we were in touch with each other, text, msg, phone, whatever.
So it’s hardly surprising that at some point on Christmas Eve, whilst out and about, trying to avoid the reality of his absence in my house, I found myself about to call him and tell him all about what was going on. How I’d sent the kids off food shopping, and gone into the Lamb for a quiet pint, only to unexpectedly find myself amongst friends, who welcomed me in, and included me, and how much that meant to me. I wanted to tell him how I’d caught up with an old friend and how nice it was to see them, and how lovely it was that they confided in me. And about how someone told me that they’d read my last blog, and thought it was beautifully written, which meant so much to me, and which nearly resulted in us both being in tears. As ever, I wanted to tell him everything really. That’s what we did. Oddly it would appear that there are some people out there who clearly have no clue how much we meant to each other. Which is mental. But you know what they say, those who matter know, and those who don’t know don’t matter!
And today was Christmas. Which, as hoped, wasn’t as bad as I’d feared it would be. Lots of my and our friends checked in during the day to see if I was ok. Matt’s kids all got in touch too, which meant so much to me, and hopefully I’ll see them sometime in the next couple of days too. It’s so lovely that we’re all still in touch – it helps me, and I hope it helps them too. Then Christmas lunch at the Oakhouse went well, which was by no means guaranteed, but as it turns, out both the food and the service was good, and thanks to eating out, there was no prep or washing up to do here. What more do you want?
I know Christmas isn’t supposed to be about consumerism and gifts, but I was so pleased (and relieved!) that Dad loved the print I brought him. Mum may or may not have loved the vintage china cat I bought her, but sadly it’s hard to tell these days, and she’ll have forgotten what I bought her tomorrow anyway. Ho hum. It’s the thought that counts, right? But the kids loved all their gifts so, you know, overall, go me.
I got presents too. Austin bought me an awesome artisan wooden box to keep on my bedside table, and some earrings. He’s fed up of me putting things there, and then them getting knocked off and lost. I’ve always coped badly with losing things (understatement of what’s left of the year) but since I ‘lost’ Matt, if anything goes missing, especially anything from or related to him, I tend to have a complete melt down. Austin is both practical and bored of helping me look for things!
Tash bought me some lush things from Lush and also the most beautiful blue lapis lazuli heart shaped pendant. It’s gorgeous, it really is. Hey, I must love it since, for only the second time since he died, I have taken off our necklaces, and worn that instead. It really couldn’t be more perfect. And Mum & Dad have bought me a couple of large round Victorian vaguely Pre-Raphaelite prints (well, I found them, they paid me back *grin*), which Dad currently has, so as to smarten them up a bit. I bought myself a lovely pair of earrings and, courtesy of the last tenner Matt had left in his wallet, he posthumously bought me a lovely blue ethnic necklace, similar to the one he bought me last year. I know that’s probably a bit weird, but it was just a little thing that made today a little better. It kind of kept him included in our day? He’d love it. And he’d have loved the whole day…
Finally, after lunch, me and my two ended up at home drinking copious quantities of fizz, and watching films. I’m sure you’ll agree that Les Miserables and Beetlejuice are festive right? At some point George popped round, which was lovely and then, following my usual habit of picking weird times to do things, I decided to distract myself from some of the lurking emotional pain by stretching my right lobe piercing up to 6mm. Real pain is easier to deal with somehow. It just is.
We were going to watch Roger Rabbit and actually the mob did, but I decided to head out and see Gary instead, someone else who had been dreading Christmas. I am rapidly learning who my friends are, new and old, and I decided to go and spend time with one of them. I’m so glad I did too. (In fact as time passes I am learning many things, as it happens. But that’s for sharing another time). After a while, after much chatting, and catching up, and not watching the clock, we both realised it had become Boxing Day, which meant that both of us had survived Christmas. Rah!
I can’t claim to have enjoyed today exactly. But I spent it supported by friends and family. It was better than expected. I missed Matt massively, and there were a lot of tears shed, mostly quietly and privately. And my kids were, as ever, amazing; they dispensed hugs as and when needed, and Tash told me if my mascara had run! And now it’s tomorrow, and I can put Christmas behind us. One day at a time…
Merry Wednesday Matt, wherever you are. Love you and so wish you had been here to share today with us. You were missed. You always will be. And maybe if I had you to snuggle up to, I’d be able to get to sleep…