Well I said I would do a ‘Post Christmas’ Blog on how my attempts at embracing Christmas went this year,
After my blog at the beginning of December my girlfriend and I decided to write a list of things that would help me ‘Embrace’ the Yuletide season ,one because I needed a plan (I function better if I have a list….. I’m anal that way… This will definitely discussed further in a future blog) and two I REALLY wanted to make good/new memories for not just me but for my mum and my girlfriend.
Anyways step One …… Going for the tree , now as a lover of nature and all things outside as is my mum and my girlfriend we decided on a live tree , that’s to say one that was not cut at the base but one that could be replanted once Christmas was out-of-the-way.
So came the morning of said Christmas Tree shopping, which didn’t go without a hitch, I’d been the loft to retrieve the boxes of Decorations and, I had a massive panic attack which kicked in my asthma, because in retrieving the decorations I had flashbacks of Christmas 1973!. It took me a while to get over , but non the less once I calmed down off we went.
When we arrived there were an array of various trees of all shapes and size’s but most were cut at the base , which I found quite sad. Anyways in a small section of the Garden centre were the live trees and there was particular tree slightly bent, not as athletically pleasing to the eye because it wasn’t perfect and which had been placed in a corner almost out of sight. My girlfriend turned to me and said “That’s the one isn’t it?” , ” Yes” I replied.” anyway with tree bought off we drove home ready to decorate the tree.
Now I ask the girlfriend if I could decorate the tree alone, as this would be a real test for me because if there is one single thing that brings back the awful memories of Christmases gone by is the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations because it evokes a memory of a particular Christmas my dad needed drink, he hadn’t a drink for a couple of days and usually something would stir in him and he get a look in his eyes and he would flip because he had no money to buy any more alcohol and because non was ever kept in the house and he was desperate for a drink he took his frustration out on my mum because as usual she refused to pay for his addiction, that was when I usually had to intervene and literally part them or as on this occasion shield my mum from him and at 7 that was a scary thing to do, but it always stopped him, he usually then take his frustration out on anything in the house , throwing ornaments, damaging furniture and tearing photo’s up and on this particular occasion breaking every single tree bauble and destroying the tree whilst mum and I coward behind the sofa until he would leave the house and we would plan our escape and stay at my mum’s brother’s for the night whilst the demons left him and he put back together the house, the tree , the photo’s with his remorse! I particularly remember this more clearly than any other episode because the day before the destruction occurred my dad and I were playing , laughing and joking and putting the tree up together and he had shown so much love that day and with him destroying the tree it has always felt like a denouncement of his love, it was also the last time I ever decorated a tree with him or in fact enjoyed Christmas and at age 7 that in itself is very sad thing .So yes it was more poignant that I decorate the tree alone and try to remember that day my dad decorated the tree with me instead of him destroying it. I more importantly wanted to remember the love shared between my Dad and I that day. It emotionally drain me, I wept for about two hours afterwards but I had done it.
Step two…… Was a visit to the European Christmas markets held in the City centre. As my girlfriend said it would help me in knowing that not all images of Christmas have to be negative they can be positive. Although I’d been before without her but I had never really enjoyed the experience ,but this time I did manage to enjoy and soak up the atmosphere, it was also lovely spending a bit of time alone with her as things have been a bit manic of late as my mum hasn’t been that well and as I am my mum’s full-time carer we haven’t had any proper time alone together.
Step three …….. Presents, wrapping paper and sellotape. I decided to buy some small gifts for my mum and girlfriend, which I wrapped and hid until the big day.
It was at this point I started to become overwhelmed with the pressure of everything. One by the guilt of the blog I just written and two because of the memory that kept coming back every time I saw the Christmas tree.
Whilst all this was going on my mum had developed a serious infection, one that changed all our plans for Christmas. As we were going to spend Christmas day with my girlfriends parents and grandmother, obviously I couldn’t leave my mum and neither would my girlfriend leave us. I could see the same scenario of Christmas happening all over again. I was on complete edge and my girlfriend and I started to argue more and more until the point I used my mum’s infection to push her away , because I was so scared I was going to ruin Christmas for her and so I told her to go and spend Christmas with her parents. So she left , obviously I didn’t want her to go but what choice did I have. I had a sick mum to look after , I was on edge and could feel myself withdrawing I didn’t want that to be her memory or that of my mum’s for Christmas 2012. I cried all that day and when I wasn’t looking after my mum I spent it alone. During that evening ironically the Christmas tree fell over and that was it I cried like a baby. That evening my girlfriend returned and she wrote me a letter of all my faults cos she was mad at me and also in there was a letter which basically summed up my reason’s for hating Christmas , she is first one to actually realise what this fear/hate of Christmas was all about and that basically I associate Christmas with love , or more importantly the destruction of love. You see in all the time my dad was alive he never actually told me he loved me. I although he showed love , and I knew he loved me. I always doubted that the love was genuine, because of that one Christmas with that tree and how he had shown love one day but within the next day he destroyed it and that’s the thing that brings it back. As my girlfriend said all year you can convince yourself that he loved you but then Christmas comes and it brings all those doubts back again, one period in time ,not lasting no more than an hour has eaten away at me for forty years! As she said there was no doubt he loved me, if hadn’t of loved me he would have never accepted my sexuality which he did, with that there is no doubt. He wouldn’t have sung my praises as people she met have told her he did and how him and I were close and we were. As she said one moment in time, at time when my dad was ill should now be but to rest and so it has, as if it hadn’t I could not of explained that memory in detail, as I have done now.
We both put the tree back up and decorated it together and so the rest of Christmas went well, we all had a lovely time, my mum was feeling better , the table was set and lunch was delightful and we raised a glass to my dad, to our families, to happy memories and our love for each other , a perfect end to embracing perfect Christmas.
Next Blog a review of 2012 and my resolutions for 2013.