Charli’s post resonated with me deeply. When we first moved here we joyfully rejoined our friends Swedish Christmas Eve, downing Schnapps, chasing it with beer, singing Swedish drinking songs whilst eating gravalax and herring.
Then they would come to us for the traditional English fare. Sadly Olof died last Christmas and this turned the festive time into one that will be remembered for sad reasons rather than merry. His wife could not bear to be here for the first anniversary so went to family in Victoria. So we are down to three for Christmas unless my brother brings his children from Switzerland for a visit but as they only get short holidays over this period and Australia is such a long way away they tend to visit in their summer.
In our old town of Gloucester in rural NSW we had the same family situation, but it was not so noticeable as we had our god children and extended family through their parents, their siblings and offspring and also their parents.
Many of our friends also had no family close-by so our table was always full to overflowing on Christmas Day.
It still felt like the Christmases past when the table was full with all my grandparents, cousins and their parents, great-aunts and uncles. A real family day.
With our move to Noosa our table is empty. My grandparents and older relatives all passed on a long time ago.
My Dad left us over twenty years ago.
Annie, my surrogate sister, over five years ago.
They both feel like yesterday. Their loss is keenly felt but as the years have passed I feel as though they are now constantly with me. That they have taken up residence in my heart, replacing the darkness with light. Christmas Day does bring it home, however, which was one reason we went to a restaurant for lunch. Oodles of people, good food, no washing up, Christmas carols blaring. It was a good decision.
Charli said, that if we wished, we could make this prompt a memorial to the memory of those no longer with us. So this post is for my Dad, who was like the priest in the following story and my friends Annie, Sue, Steve, Olof and Roger. All went way too young.
I slept late, skulked the gangways by day and sat, staring out into the black abyss nursing my dark thoughts at night. The ship’s bar had taken advantage of my torment, leaving me broke.
After Durban, a priest comandeered my bench. He patted it in invitation. Angry at his intrusion I sat. Neither of us spoke. In silence, we stared out to sea. Each night we sat, my anger dissipating, being replaced by light. Our last night at sea, before docking in Freemantle, the priest touched my hand, looked me in the eye and said “Sometimes, words aren’t necessary.”
In response to Charli’s prompt where she asks:
December 16, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about “spreading the light.” You can use it to honor or memorialize a loved one.
TWO WEEK EXTENDED HOLIDAY! Respond by December 29, 2015to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!