The holidays are coming, and for as far back as I can remember, the holidays have always started on November 12th, Mother’s birthday. When I was little, this day started the festive season with a bang, so much fun and festive-ness. It was wonderful.
Now, instead of starting the holiday season with joy, it starts with darkness.
This year we are spending the holidays with Father’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Miles, in England. They live in an old house out in the English country. I call it The English Farm House, but they call it The Cottage. Either way it is beautiful. It has a huge garden with growing things everywhere! Though, right now many of the trees are leafless and twiggy.
None of the relatives are here yet. It’s just Father and I, Grandma and Grandpa.
When I wrote the above, I was going to bed and it wasn’t the 12th yet, but I can’t sleep…
It is about 1 am right now. Officially her birthday. I went to bed at about 9, but I just lay there, thinking of her. Her eyes. Her smile. Her necklace with the gold heart and the tiniest of diamonds resting in the middle of it. I wear it everyday, so I will never forget her.
I will never forget her. She’s Mother.
But I realized, as I was laying in bed, that there are things about her that I am forgetting.
What did her voice sound like? What did her arms feel like when she hugged me? How tall was she again? What was her favorite Christmas song? What did her singing voice sound like?
I don’t cry often anymore, but that’s when I cried.
I’m starting to forget details.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I was only 6. There are so many things you think to remember when you are 6. There are so many other things you wish you had asked. There are so many more things you can remember now, that you were too little to remember at 6.
I am so filled with darkness. It’s not sadness really, it’s more like emptiness, like a room you used to go into all the time is now dark and unused. It’s been four years. So the really deep sad feeling is more numb now. But there is still darkness. Father feels that darkness too, I think. He won’t talk about it though.
Tomorrow morning is the morning I will not see him. He will spend it in his room. He will lay in his bed, covers pulled up to his scruffy chin (he’s growing out his beard), and just lay there. Eyes closed. If he opens his eyes, he will cry. He’s too British for that.
Grandma will bring breakfast and coffee to his room, and sit with him. She will not say anything. Everything has been said, but she says, “He should not be alone”. So, she will sit with him until he gets up. She will stay with him all day if need be.
I will not go sit with him, the darkness gets too dark when we look at each other.
Now I am alone, downstairs on the couch with the quilt off my bed, writing in my diary.
Grandpa found me last night on the couch. He made me hot chocolate. He said that dark days are okay to have, as long as we don’t spend them alone. Alone, the darkness will swallow us up. Alone, the cold living room would have swallowed me without Grandpa there, and the hot chocolate. He started the fire and sat with me until I fell asleep. I woke this morning still on the couch, Grandpa was still with me, asleep in his easy chair.
We had breakfast together, just Grandpa and I. He told me to get dressed, and we’ll get out of the house for a little while. There’s some sun coming through the clouds today, and he said a lamb was born a few days ago. I’d like to see the lamb, and the walk in the sun with Grandpa will be good.
Dark days need people, sunshine, good food, and love. Lots of love.