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December 24, 2012

Christmas, for some of us, is the saddest time of year

by Prue Miller

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It’s beginning to look like Christmas I think to myself, with familiar dread.

Okay, for the first 15 years it was fun, then it’s importance just diminished – taking second place to love, pop culture and freedom. Then, voila! my own  beautiful children appear and things picked up again – though it took some pretending to disguise parental angst. Not enough presents? The wrong presents? Too much money spent?

But at the same time this period heralded enormous and fabulous Christmas Day lunches with lots of people and laughter  – tipsy games of charades and silly poetry and, well, family.

I became host to my own parents, and my husband’s parents, and any strays that wanted a home for the day. But my sadness, hidden, started even then. Hidden tears while peeling the spuds. Tears of loss.  Then it was for my little son, Robin, who died at three weeks of age a very long time ago – with each Christmas I tick of another year. He’d be 22 now.

Thanks to divorce my children have had their (and my) Christmas split, with Christmas day neatly carved, like a Wooolworths turkey into my time, and his.

No big lunches, no need to cook, no presents to buy thanks to children who now tower over me and tell me well in advance what they want. (Just one thing Mum, they say, conscious of a close-to-the-line bank balance)

One son is having Christmas overseas this year. He just Viber’ed me – from New York. Having a ball. The call has made him seem further away.

Heartbreak. More because his distance heralds a further chasm in our little family at a time when all and sundry are supposed to be tied at the hip. My beautiful younger son would rather be on facebook, or tooling about with his music programs than observing a questionable (in his eyes) holy day. He will, because he is beautiful, do it for me.

My lovely Mum, gone for many years now and my tower of strength Dad, now gone too. Loss. Empty chairs, empty kitchens, quiet phones. And this year the acutely painful loss of my best friend, who died of breast cancer just months ago, is relentless this week.

Ageing – sometimes it really does suck.

I’d better go and peel some spuds. A lot of  ’em.

You better watch out, I’m tellin’ you why – Santa Claus is coming to town.

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