Thursday, December 24, 2020

Letter from home on Christmas Eve

I've just got home from an early bike ride on the Trail where I suffered the ultimate indignity: a runner overtook me. 

I wanted to shout out  - "Look! I'm 71 and my knees are really creaky this week and my winter biorhythm doesn't wake up till 11 a.m. on winter mornings! I'm only out this early to beat the crowds!" I didn't, of course. I'm just telling you.

I went to collect Chione's ashes from the vet on Tuesday. They are in a cardboard canister decorated tastefully with a photo of a bluebell wood, and it's now sitting on the kitchen table, the hub of our joint communing during the day. We'll scatter them in the garden, perhaps in the spring.

The vet nurse who came outside to hand them to me was wearing a humungous mask, but surprisingly she managed to express sympathy with her eyes. She said "I expect it's nice to have her home for Christmas,"  and I tried to mumble agreement, while thinking What?  But she meant well. And actually, it is better having Chione on the kitchen table than nowhere we know.

Thinking of mortality, Dave is kicking himself he hasn't bought a coffin yet. "What happens if one of us dies over the Christmas period? Do you imagine we'll be able to get hold of one? Of course not."

This reminds me of a conversation I put on the blog a couple of years ago, entitled Leaving an Aspie at Home...

The day before I flew to Boulder - which is where I am now - Dave and I had the conversation we always have before I leave the country. (For strangers to this blog, Dave and I have been married for 48 years.)

Dave: 'If I die while you're at Isaac's, you mustn't think of cutting short your holiday and coming home. You must stay there. There would be nothing to come home to - just a cadaver, which will go in the fridge. Though I don't know why they would bother when it's going to be burned anyway.'

Me: 'You're crazy. Do we have to go through this again?'

Dave: 'It's important. I don't want your trip to be spoiled if I die. There really is no reason.' 

Me: 'I will do what I think, Dave. You'll be dead. It'll be up to me.' 
(Thinks: there is absolutely no point in trying to explain AGAIN how upset I'll be.)

The blog is taking a peculiar turn this morning, but while we're on the subject of sadness, and helping others who are sad, I'd like to share a post (plus video) with you that I found on the fantastic Brainpickings blog, here.

And now, some Christmas photos -

First Liz, sitting under one of her favourite trees in May, because walks in the sunshine with Liz have really helped me get through this difficult year:

The Colorado family, because I don't know when it will be safe for me to visit them again:

Chione keeping me company last summer while I was writing a blog post:

And my Christmas tree angel, that my sister gave me a few years ago because it reminded her of the funny little dolls our mother used to make, so it reminds me of family, and of this line from Wendy Cope's poem

Bring in your memories of Christmas past.

Bring in your tears for all that you have lost.

I recently had to write something about Christmas. This is a section from it:

The elements that make a perfect Christmas for me are these, not in a particular order:

My children and grandchildren sitting around the dinner table;

The afternoon of Christmas Eve, cooking alone, and with the phone off the hook, while listening to the festival of nine lessons and carols from King’s College, Cambridge;

A real, growing tree;


This year I have three out of the four, and I plan to see all of the family on Zoom tomorrow, so all in all, I'm pretty lucky.

I wish you a happy Christmas, and solace for all that you are missing.


Sally said...

Happy Christmas to you and your family Sue, from my kitchen to yours. The poem hits all the right notes. Best wishes for a brighter 2021. Sally x 🎄

Sue Hepworth said...

Happy Christmas. Sally. xx

Anita said...

Happy Christmas Sue. I too was baking whilst listening to the carols from Kings this afternoon.
Let’s hope for much better things in the coming year. Anita x

Sue Hepworth said...

Happy Christmas, Anita. Xx