Today, I watched tartan-clad men playing the bagpipes and had to fight back tears. Tears of sadness, desperation, happiness, relief. I managed to fight it until we turned into our street and then I couldn't stop it.
I don't like Christmas. Even though I have a child who brings me so much joy, at this time of year especially. I've tried and tried to fall in love with it and have felt like a fraud imposing on someone else's fun. I'd happily skip it every year.
Ten years ago, on Christmas Day, my Grandad died. Sometimes, you don't realise how much someone has affected your life until they die. I didn't realise how close I was to him until he wasn't there to joke with anymore. I remember everything about him, his smell, how soft his hands were, his belly laugh and how it warmed my heart. I was 18 when he left. I woke up from a Christmas afternoon nap to the sound of the phone ringing and knew it was the call I'd been dreading. I'd spent the morning with him, he was unconcious, but I spoke to him. Kissed him goodbye and told him I'd see him tomorrow. I'd spent nights sitting up with my cousin and the nurse, talking to him, sitting by his side. Praying for weeks he'd recover. When he was conscious he'd ask me if I'd come round for tea and toast. He called me Charlie.
It broke me, his death. It's dramatic but it did. And I never truly recovered, because you don't after someone you loves dies. Do you? People roll their eyes when you get upset at someone who died a long time ago, but it's always going to make you sad. No matter who they were.
Last year, I visited a spiritualist church and he came through. He told me a bunch of stuff that stopped my heart for a second but I felt at peace. After nine years of waiting, I felt as though I could move forward and that maybe the nightmares would stop. And they did, up until a few weeks ago. And now I feel as though it's raw again and I'm desperate for a sign that it's all ok. It's been ten whole years, so much has happened, but it still feels like yesterday I was a girl cooking up elephants toe nails for his dinner. Eating chocolates off his tree and playing snap, listening to bagpipes and dancing like a loon.
Have I depressed you enough yet?!
If you're missing someone this Christmas who isn't here anymore, I'm sending you all the love in the world. Have a long, hard cry and write about your grief. Because sometimes, writing about it make its all better.