The first Christmas without my father was never going to be easy but we managed to get through it with copious bottles of what my friend calls French Nurofen, a single Valium (for me), and the decision to let the day be as chilled as the champagne.
My brother didn’t make it home for the day, as his white cell count is being moody, and the bone pain, particularly in the bone marrow, is excruciating. He’s still the man on the isolation island of the Lymphoma ward.
It was a case of Merry Crapfestmas for him more than anyone else in the family, and he decided to stagger the visitors. My sister saw him yesterday, and I’ll take Mum in today.
On Christmas Eve, I scrounged up the file of the book I am supposed to deliver in a few months. I thought that at best I had written 20,000 words. What an absolute gem to find I had written 63,000 words. There is a good chance that only 3000 of them are useable but it’s a start.
I haven’t written anything for nine months. This wasn’t a leave of absence that I took willingly but life demanded I work with words in another way.
As I edited my manuscript in bed, I remembered how much I loved to write. To create a cast of characters and patchwork them together in a story, fulfilling my fantasies and dream about lives un-lived is a dream come true.
More than ever this year has taught me that life isn’t like fairy tales but the importance of recording the experiences, of reading other people’s stories and how they navigated the choppy waters and celebrated the calm.
So I will write on through this, and hopefully, one day, my books will ease someone’s reality the way so many books have eased mine.
Happy Boxing Day!