Finding Christmas

I Didn’t blog last week, cause I felt too sad. I went to a funeral on the Monday it was my mums birthday on the Saturday and both events left me feeling a bit lost. The funeral was for a woman I met in a writing group earlier this year. When I think back now I’d only met Jenny six times. But there was just something special about the way she encouraged me to take risks with the group that made me feel especially close to her. From the first session I knew Jenny was on my side. I told her I was new at this teacher caper and at every opportunity she tried to spur me on. Jenny was determined that one day our little group would continue. That we could form  a community of writers and learn and support each other. As I left her funeral I felt sad that Jenny wouldn’t be there when we get the group back together. I felt sad for her family that christmas without Jenny at the table, wouldn’t be the same.

As the end of the week drew closer I couldn’t stop thinking about my mum. Her birthday was the fifteen and it’s been five years since mum died. I used to love mum’s birthday. Used to love the fact that to her the simplest gift was like treasure. Mum loved ornaments and stuffed toys and flowers and her little unit at Nagambie was like a shrine of birthday presents. Giving mum a five dollar nick nack from the reject shop was like giving her the world. After she died my sister-in-law and I went over to pack up the unit. Putting those ornaments into packing boxes was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

My mood didn’t budge till the Sunday when I went to see my grandson Jake sing at the carols by candlelight in Wodonga. As my bride and  I drove up I wondered if I was in the right frame of mind for christmas songs in the park. But when Jake walked onto that stage my sadness left me, my heart soared and I found my christmas spirit. I watched him. Watched my wife and daughter watching him and thought to myself, life is good.

On the drive home I thought  a lot about the people we share life with and those we miss. I thought about Jenny and her gift of encouragement. About mum and her nick nacks. I thought about Jake and his grin as wide as christmas and for the first time in a while realised how blessed I am.

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13 thoughts on “Finding Christmas

  1. Thank you for sharing this Barry. You write beautifully about the fundamental things that are important in life. I’m sorry you have lost a friend and fellow writer. Grief always leaves an ever changing hole in our lives. I appreciated your thoughts about your mum too. It’s 10 years since my mum passed away and Its been a struggle every Christmas. I blogged about that this week because my thoughts of mum at this time of year has become a ritual. Your grandson’s role in drawing you back was lovely. Jake sounds like a healing force. Again thanks for sharing. May your Christmas be filled with happy memories of you mum and your friend.

  2. I love reading your blog Barry, you have a wonderful talent for making the ordinary extraordinary. I would like to wish you and yours the happiest of Christmases and may 2013 bring new and exciting things. Regards Janet

    • Hi baz – sorry to hear about your friend-sounds like she had a real impact on yours and others lives.
      You never know what’s around the corner -hey?
      Had a moment just the other day as well-was lamenting a run of bad luck/ things not going right. It was then that I thought about what I was lamenting about – and how charmed my life really is.
      It’s a hard time of the year in some ways – we look forward to Xmas and we also starting reflecting on the year just gone – makes it difficult to stay in the present.
      Hope you and your dearest can stay right in each others presence this Xmas- and cherish the day and let it all unfold-and give fond thoughts to those who have already left us on this journey of ours.
      Cheers bern

      • Hi Barry, I will do my best to catch up with you but first I need to survive this awful hot weather. Love Janet

  3. Gidday Barry, first up, wishing you and family a very merry, joyous, safe, healthy, prosperous Christmas and New Year – and lookin’ forward to another Writing group.

    It is interesting how those we connect with, if ever so briefly, can touch our lives in a meaningful, significant and profound way, such was the case with Jenny. She shared her passion and creativity generously with others – an encouraging, embracing, engaging presence. She stirred me about not sending my postcard off in the exercise you set us in the writing group. So recently I picked up some postcards for her – they will now be postcards from heaven.

    The moments we share are indeed sacred, the spaces and people with whom we choose to share our lives and hearts. I’m seeing my mum tomorrow for her birthday and Christmas, evermore acutely aware of how precious each moment is.

    Your writing always seems to evoke and celebrate the humanity that we all share, a reminder to ‘smell the roses’, or as I was fortunate enough to do today, inhale the sweet perfume of jasmine.

    Cheers mate,
    David Pedlar
    P.S. I’ve re-posted this reply as it initially went to your previous post.

  4. Dear Barry,
    Best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy New Year. I look forward to your 2013 blogs – you are now listed permanently as one of my ‘favourites’! I have shared Haloes in the Windscreen with my relatives and it has provided some inspiration and motivation to start documenting our journey. Thank you again……….
    With warmest regards, Christine

  5. HI Barry,
    Just read this as I have been having a digital-free period – well, as much as possible. So sorry to hear of the loss and sadness. So glad to hear of the repair. And thanks for writing of both with such love. I hope 2013 is a year full of repairs and joys, and I hope we will sight each other soon. Love to you and the family. Ailsa x

  6. Hi Barry
    Sorry to read you had a few sad moments lately and how wonderful you were able to open your heart and count your blessings. Life is a balance of bitter sweet experiences. There is the pain of losing beloved friends and family but there is also the comfort and joy of celebrating happpy times spent together.
    Best Wishes for a wonderful 2013.
    Your friend
    Bridie S

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