There is nothing worse than empty chairs round the Christmas table; reminders of those you’ve loved and lost.
It might be your first Christmas, your fifth, your twenty-fifth, without them. Flashed by in a sparkly tinsel blur.
It’s our seventh Christmas this year without my Dad.
We used to morbidly joke that each year our table gets smaller and smaller… but sometimes it can feel like that can’t it?
Last year we lost my Nan, two years before that my Granny, and as I’m sure you’d agree, nothing can or should replace those wonderful people that filled your life.
It’s just focusing on the wonderful people who still surround you.
Waking up Christmas morning to my Mum and brother, in our Christmas pyjamas, our house adorned in lights, the speakers blaring out Christmas songs, dressing our dogs up in little christmassy outfits, is an absolute dream. One of those magical movie moments of life.
Do I wish he was with us? Of course.
Do I wish he’d mix up the brandy with the rum and struggle to set the sopping Christmas pudding alight? Every, single, year. I mean there’s nothing better than being drunk on Christmas pudding at twelve.
Do I feel as though he’s watching? Absolutely.
What I wish most is that everyone who has loved and lost someone is sat at a table with everyone else they love.
Yes, it’s hard, but it’s so much easier if you share the pain with people you love.
Our house is filled with singing, laughter and madness 364 days of the year so we couldn’t skip Christmas could we? My Dad would be appalled. He was barmy all year round, but most of all on Christmas, or birthday’s, or Friday’s or evening’s… basically most of the time.
We’ve got to carry on the tradition right? As I’m sure you all will this Christmas for everyone who isn’t here and for everyone who is.
I love Christmas.
I’m that person asking to play Christmas songs and watch Elf and Love Actually as soon as we hit September.
Yet, I can’t deny that it also makes me a little bit sad now and again too. Only human, I guess.
Over time, you also acquire new loved ones; new additions to the table. Change is inevitable, but not all of it is bad, some of it, is well, amazing.
My best advice is to focus on those lovely individuals in your life that have a seat at your Christmas table and to raise a glass to those who are no longer with us. As we’re all very lucky to know and have experienced such love.
Cherish your festive memories and be sure to make new ones with your loved ones this Christmas.
I’ll be home for Christmas with all of my loved ones, even though some of them are only in my dreams.