And so now, what of the snow? We awake to see the ground covered and the flakes still falling. It’s crisp layer only seems to amplify the silence in the house, a soft blanket of sadness.
Christmas is so often about the gaps, the ones we try and mask with tinsel and hope that the dim light of the tree means we can’t see too clearly what is missing: the people we have lost, the life that we ordered.
I’ve known so many Christmas Carols, from The Muppets to Owen Meany.
“Which ghost are you?
You never think it will happen to your family until it does.
Suddenly we were locked down. Our holiday was cancelled, Fred’s central line meant he could no longer go swimming. We were not allowed to travel anywhere more than 30 minutes from our hospital. I carried a thermometer in my handbag to check for temperatures.
There’s a poem, that I’ve forgotten the name of, about changing the sheets. It contains a line about the poet’s mother “the smell of clean washing is hers” I think of this every time I change the bed. I use the same washing powder that my mother used to, just for the smell. When IContinue reading “The scent of grief”
I know where I live. I know where I live because the signposts and landmarks tell me so, but this is not my home.I remember watching the drama Chernobyl on the TV, before all this happened. This is where I live now. My home was full of laughter, and hope. Children played in the parkContinue reading “I know where I live”
Kindness does not give out gold stars, which is really annoying – or badges, or certificates or any kind of recognition that you are doing well at this. It should, because that would really help, but that’s not what kindness is for.Kindness is there to remind you that there is no good way to doContinue reading “Kindness”
The thing about tsunamis is the bit before the wave. A monumental rupture happens, hidden underground, miles away and unseen – but the wave doesn’t come straight away. First there is the drawback. It’s the moment where all the water gets sucked out to sea, where the power builds. It’s the part where the fish are left flapping on the beach and no one can quite work out what’s going on. And it’s the part that people see.
How we talk about children’s cancer matters. It’s easy to worry about saying the right thing, the wrong thing, and often people end up saying nothing at all, which is the worst of all. The language used usually involves wars, battles, fighting, bravery. In many ways it’s odd. We never say a child lost their battle against an articulated lorry, but cancer it seems is up for the fight.
There are many kinds of mother you can be. Tiger mother, Alpha, Helicopter. I’ve never really seen myself as any of them, and certainly tried to avoid a few. If I had to classify my parenting style, I’d say that I carried stuff. To give it a festive flavour, if this were a nativity, I’d be the donkey.