Christmas is such a special time. With all the manufactured glitter that surrounds it, I still believe that we all really know in our hearts that the bling is just a reflection of what really matters. That’s why I love the tinsel and the lights, the buying frenzy and the stress of getting ready for the big day. I don’t believe I’m being sucked into the big bad vortex of commercialism, I’m just having fun. I believe in Santa!
Many of us have heightened times of sadness at special times like this. Christmas 2014 is the first that dad and I have celebrated on our own at home, since mum died 4 years ago. It seems longer than that, but her presence felt stronger than ever. Grief begins with sad memories, but for us, over time, the memories have strengthened into memories of mum’s own special moments. The good stuff she did and the good stuff we did with her. Instead of missing her we started to remember her, not with sadness, but with love and laughter.
We also went out and created a few new memories of our own. Dad and I burst into giggles as he slipped a shot of whiskey into his flask of hot chocolate as I joined the Eastern Bay Swimmers for Robbie Clarke’s charity ‘splash and dash’ for Cystic Fibrosis at Portmarnock on Christmas morning. Dad’s blue eyes twinkled as he guiltily wiped away a big smear of chocolate from his chin. He was warm and snug in his RNLI hat and scarf, a present from this year’s RNLI Reindeer Run in Marlay Park. I splashed around in the sea for a while and then climbed into my ridiculous red ‘onesie’.. lovely and warm, and completely confident in the knowledge that dad never minds what his daughter turns up wearing!
Dad was delighted to meet and greet his buddy, the ‘big man’ channel swimmer Fergal Somerville, and loved the fuss everyone made of him. It’s so easy to make a fuss of dad, he’s such a bright light, you just want him to keep on shining. He’ll be celebrating his 90th birthday this Summer and we’ve got a big party planned. My Cavan-born father jokes that he’ll have to make the 90 because we’ve paid the deposit.
Christmas Day 2014 was a very special day. The sun was stunningly bright, the sea was stunningly cold, the hearts stunningly warm. A day that was packed with simple memories of love and laughter. Happy Christmas friends. xxx