December… “The most wonderful time of the year.” A very tough month for many and so magical for others. People struggling to buy presents, feed their family to the extent of meeting societal norms, while others notice that one missing chair around the table a little more. Everyone has their own unique challenges and December seems to highlight them more. 

For me December was always my favourite month. I loved everything about it, being with family, the festive spirit, the colder weather, the food and the presents..I could go on. Nothing I looked forward to more than getting on that plane knowing I was coming home for Christmas.

December feels bittersweet for me right now. December reminds me of many things and last December was the worst month of my life. I try now to enjoy Christmas and get back to how I used to view it. I feel like I have worked through a lot of hurdles in the last few weeks to be able to do this.

December 3rd.. It will probably always be the toughest day. The day that I lost my dad. It brought back a lot of memories, painful memories. December 5th.. the day I said goodbye to my dad with many of his favorite people at his funeral. December 9th.. My dad’s birthday. Day after day in December it feels like it has reminders. Sad reminders which take me back to the painful moments. Like going to visit my dad’s grave with flowers, seeing one pink rose in the bouquet and it immediately providing a vivid image of the tears streaming down my face as I placed roses on top of his coffin when he was being lowered into the ground. 

I realize I am not yet at a point where I can sit around and talk about my dad. I know this is something I want to be able to do. I want to sit around and remember the good times and speak about stories. I am aware that it’s something that makes me sad currently. Something that makes me miss him even more and want him to be back.  

December 25th.. Another Christmas without his chair at the table filled, where the typical traditions don’t feel the same.  My goal is to get back to enjoying Christmas. Trying not to feel guilty for enjoying it without him. As I build up towards December 25th I try not to fear this day. I know my dad would hate if I spent the rest of my life hating Christmas because I don’t get to celebrate it with him. 

This Christmas I am challenging myself to try to remember the good times with him at Christmas without it bringing me instant sadness. I am aware that this will be a challenge for me as I haven’t even got close to his memories bringing a smile to my face.

I know I have come a long way even though I still have a long way to go. Things have been starting to feel better. I was slowly opening up, being more social, and enjoying golf again. Truly starting to enjoy life more. I felt ready to do all of these things again. My head often racing with ideas, planning ahead for next year. December has been my reminder to keep slowing down. I have felt myself shutting down slightly more in December, not being as open, crying to myself sometimes and scared that anyone will see me being upset again. I feel that because things have been better, I worry that I can’t say I am having a really terrible day. But I look back over the last few weeks and I know I could have been more open about this, I could have handled this better.  At times it has felt like 3 steps forward and 4 steps back. But I trust I am on the right path and I believe it.

December has constantly reminded me that there are always struggles and challenges in life for everyone. But it’s how we cope and find the strategies to get through it. 

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