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First Christmas

A Man in a yellow Christmas hat winking at the camera

Updated on December 6th, 2022

First Christmas?……Second Christmas?

Christmas 1998

Despite passing the year anniversary of losing Terry it still felt like the first Christmas to me, and again I put on my best performance & survived. It’s weird how your body takes over to protect you from stress & trauma as I actually remember very little about last year.

We had been preparing for Terry to be there on Christmas Day, making lots of jokes about how annoying it’d be for my sister Al, to have him watching over her. We all knew he would be critiquing constantly while she tried to prepare the roast turkey & all the trimmings to Terry’s exacting standards. When the operation was postponed twice it started to dawn on us that he may not be well enough to be out of the hospital by then. We never expected to be without him completely.

As always, Terry prepared us as only he could, having written out the shopping list we needed for the big day. Our trip to Sainsbury’s is one of the few things I do remember. Al & I were arguing over whether to get the lemon & fresh rosemary detailed on the list. In my opinion, if we didn’t know what we were supposed to be doing with it, why buy it? Al argued that if Terry had put it on the list it was important, so we should buy it & work out what to do with it later. She won & she was right, of course. I think she stuffed it in the turkey but I literally have no memories of that day. For once I also know I can’t blame the amount of wine I drank (although I’m sure there was plenty of that too).

I remember between Christmas & New Year we had a few trips into London. I think one of them was to the theatre to see “Shakespeare in Love”, one very cold day spent in Cambridge, but I could be wrong. New Year, again no memory apart from Al & I staying up & finding “Carry on Camping” on the TV after midnight. We watched it for old times sake.

This year has been memorable at least, spent in Australia. I have been on a mission to try & do things that I wouldn’t have ordinarily done with Terry, to minimise the gaping hole left by his absence. I’ve been with my family & friends again who looked after & looked out for me throughout.

New Year’s Eve I spent on a boat in Sydney Harbour with friends. I was looking forward to it but, as for everything now, with slight trepidation over how I would be. It turned out to be an amazing, once in a lifetime experience watching the fireworks from a vantage point on the water, just in front of the bridge. Of course, as always there was a very notable absence but, as I do so well now I was able to separate what’s happening & block out the horrible reality of my situation. I’m not saying this is a good or healthy way to deal with things, but it has characterised my survival over the last 12 months. I remember most of the night, but at least this year I definitely know any memory loss was actually because of the wine.

Happy new year?



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