Hi readers, Gemma here. Today we’ve departed from the norm somewhat, and that’s because instead of Rebecca introducing a post by a guest, it’s me writing the intro to one of Rebecca’s posts. Now Florence Finds is well and truly Rebecca’s baby, and I like to think of myself as a kind of cool and fun aunt to that baby. I still get excited when I get updates from Rebecca on what she’s planning to write or feature and normally, as you all know, FF is a celebration of life and of being a smart, stylish and confident (if occasionally late for work) woman. However Rebecca wrote me an email the other day about the post you’re about to read, and said that she wasn’t sure about it. That maybe it was a little bit, well, sad to be published as it was and that maybe the ending needed to be more upbeat. So I read it, and I had a bit of a cry, and said that I didn’t think it needed to be changed in the slightest. That sometimes in life, there’s not a happy ending, and all we can do is try to remember the good chapters that lead up to that ending. Her words stayed with me over the weekend (which, as it turned out, involved a minor car crash where no-one was hurt and which served to reinforce the message) and the unaltered piece is below.
I read a lot of a American blogs and the flurry of Thanksgiving wishes that spread across them at the end of last month was rather alien to me. Despite having travelled to America a lot, I’ve never been to America at Thanksgiving and the whole celebration really seems like another Christmas to me. I really got a sense this year though, through the voices of bloggers like Emily, Jo and Taylor, of what Thanksgiving is about, giving thanks. I know that seems obvious, (clue’s in the name right?!) but the sense of excitement they all had came through, not for presents but just for time, spent with loved ones, something we all too often don’t get the chance to do in modern life.
I always get a little sentimental at Christmas. I am the world’s worst person for crying when I’m happy, whereas I rarely do it when I’m sad. Having family around me and receiving beautiful gifts that have so much thought put into them, often starts me off shedding tears of happiness. That and the music. Jeez… how to make me into a blubbering mess? Put a Christmas mix tape on. If it’s not Mariah making me think of how lucky I am to have Pete, it’s Chris Rea’s ‘Driving home for Christmas’ making me miss my Dad, or Band Aid reminding me how much excess we take for granted in life, especially at Christmas time.
Sadly, tomorrow I am attending the funeral of lovely lady, the Mum of one of my childhood friends, who was also a close friend of my Mum’s. With my Dad having died right at the end of November (16 years ago now) I know what it’s like to be Christmas shopping with a big hole in your life and one that is so raw. My heart is going out to the family left behind, who will forever miss her, but will also feel her absence all the more keenly at this time of year which is supposed to be full of joy.
The mixed emotions of this particular loss however have come as a real surprise to me. In the past, for the last 16 years to be precise, when I’ve heard sad news of illness in a family, or the passing of a family friend or acquaintance, my first thoughts have always gone to the children. No matter how old, losing a parent is devastating and something that can’t be replaced. You get used to it and learn to live with it, but it’s always there. This time however, my heart went out not only to her children, but her husband. After what must have been thirty years of marriage it must be so hard to know that person won’t be there when you wake up in the morning, there are no more holidays to plan, no more sharing.
I don’t write this to thoroughly depress you all pre-Christmas (and I’m sorry if I have) and I certainly don’t write it for sympathy. I write it to remind you all to give thanks. We are all guilty of postponing things, that trip you dreamed together, or just running out of the door without a second glance or an ‘I love you’. We always think there’s more time and one day, there won’t be. Cherish. Every. Day.
I know there will be many of you this Christmas who have suffered a loss this year and it’s the first Christmas without someone dear to you, or perhaps that someone died long ago but you miss them still. I’m sure those people don’t want us shedding a tear for them at Christmas, rather raising a glass to them (as we always do to my Dad) and what better way to remember them than giving thanks for the wonderful family and friends we are lucky enough to be sharing Christmas with.
If there’s someone you’ll be missing this year feel free to leave a comment in the box and share a message for, or about them, or if you’re just feeling lucky this year and can identify with me in being happy to just cherish having time to enjoy your family.
PS. And thank you Gemma 🙂