Today is my last day at work of 2012 and it’s been a very interesting year for me. The Pogues and Kirsty are on the radio belting out their iconic song, the shopping is done, the kids are on their way back from London and as always at this time of year, the house is in complete sparkly disarray.
The song always makes me feel me melancholy, lyrics about poverty, missing home, love and hopes for the future could hardly produce any other emotion. But for me it reminds me of a time when life was so hideously agonising and let’s just say it was very ‘different’ to today. A time when my older brother was so ill he was almost permanently in hospital. My parents prayed he would get home for Christmas day, and he did. We sat at our then trendy pine table and benches, ate turkey, pulled crackers, avoided the sprouts and tried desperately for those few hours to pretend everything was going to be ok. He wore a red jumper I’d picked out for him and I wore a green dress. My parents tried to like the unfamiliar ‘new drink’ wine and we might even have watched the Queens speech. But sadly he passed away just four days later. From that moment on, Christmas was cancelled and that time was set aside for drinking, running away and doing anything and everything that wasn’t family or tinsel related. It was 1977.
Gerry, Gerry Maguire. He was just fourteen, small, introvert, intense, a great pool player, the smart one in the family, arty, sensitive and had that haunting look of a boy who knew far too much for his age. And of course he did. He’d worked out that he was dying and had stopped taking the large amounts of drugs that were helping him. I was nine and I still miss him, despite him never allowing me to play with his stuff.
But this blog isn’t really about Gerry, it’s in tribute to my husband Ian, Ian Lamb who is my very own Clarence Odbody and for the last twelve years has had the patients, kindness and tenacity to show me just what Christmas can really be. When we met I was thirty and had never put up a tree or decorations in my own home, I had never cooked Christmas dinner, bought a cracker or watched disney films whilst consuming an entire tin of Roses. But more importantly I’d never sat around a table and ate dinner with family and enjoyed each others company, laughing and crying.
Today Christmas is filled with my family (my parents and my step children) cooking mountains of food, mountains of Rennie to deal with the after affect of mountains of food, long sleeps on the sofa, toasting the ones you love and feeling the warmth of knowing you are loved unconditionally. What a contrast from that first Christmas day in 1978.
So thank you Ian for giving me back Christmas and for not only helping me embrace the melancholy demons but showing me they don’t have to define Christmas anymore.
I love you more than cheese.
Your wife, Diz.