Today the first flakes of snow have fallen and, as is true to form, I’ve been bouncing around like an idiot as a result. Humming Christmas songs, lighting candles…
But just now, as I sat watching the snow dancing in the light from the street lights I started to cry.
There was something about their calm, unhurried motion that made me think of my Dad. I’m not saying he was like a snowflake, although he was definitely unique and was the calmest man I ever knew, but knowing the snow is falling means Christmas is coming and the thought of Christmas without him…
Every so often the wind drops and the flakes seem to pause in flight, hovering before the next breath pushes them onwards and I think that’s what it’s like when you’ve lost someone. For most of the time you’re carrying on, swirling around as life pushes you on and then there are those moments when the breeze dies down and the world fades away and you remember what’s happened, you feel the loss so much for a second or two. You have to pause.
It happened yesterday too. A friend who hadn’t seen me since my father passed away came to hug me and for a second, in the middle of my work day, I honestly thought I was going to break down.
People ask how you are and you reply the way you think you should. “I’m alright.” “I’m not too bad.”
And you’re not lying when you say those things, because you are doing as alright as anyone can and you’re not as bad as you might have been. But there are times when you’re far from alright, times when the memories rush over you and all you can do is give in for a moment.
This week many people have been pausing. Having their two minute silences for fallen soldiers, remembering the sacrifice so many made before we were even born to ensure peace and justice prevailed and those who continue to fight far from their homes, fighting for and protecting people they may never meet.
I know this Christmas will be hard for my family and I. There’ll be plenty of laughter I know which is just as it should be – especially with small children in the house – but I know when we have our quiet times over the holidays, when the wind drops and we have time to pause…it’ll be the Christmases gone by that we’ll remember and for those brief moments at least, my Dad will be with us again.
It’s something I think we should do more of. Taking a little time out of our busy days to just sit and think. Not just of lost loved ones, but of happier times, friends we no longer see or the places we once called home. Take a little time and maybe send someone a message or, even better, a card or letter. Something real, something they can hold and know it came from you and that you took the time to write it and send it.
I’m waiting for our family Christmas cards to come back from the printers and I can’t wait to get them and send them out. I have to admit, there’s nothing like coming home on a snowy night and finding a letterbox full of envelopes from family and friends at Christmas time. I know saving the planet is important and everyone wants to make the smallest carbon footprint and all that jazz but…Christmas emails? Really?
I have a box upstairs full of Christmas cards and birthday cards, not every single one we’ve ever been sent but a selection that matter to me. Cards from people no longer with us, the girls’ first birthday cards, their first cards to us. I have to admit the Christmas emails and text messages aren’t treasured in the same way and I don’t think they ever will be.
So please, take the time to send some Christmas cards this year. You’ll make more people smile than you realise when your card arrives. Give your friends and family something they can put up in their home, not something that’s gone the moment they close the laptop or lock their phone.
If you’re really that worried about the planet, buy recycled cards or make your own from old ones…that’s a really personal card right there!
And if you’re wanting to send a card of you and your family, have I mentioned how much I love shooting Christmas themed shoots? Elf hats, candles, fairy lights, gingerbread houses…it’s awesome!
If you haven’t sorted out your cards yet for this year, or if you’d like to make a special photo gift for Grandma and so on, get in touch and we can try to arrange a session for you and your family!