The sudden death of my mother-in-law at the beginning of December blew us all off course. We had to wait for a fortnight before the funeral, which is not at all unusual in this country, but my goodness, it's unkind. It was a horrible time, none of us was really able to focus on anything, we were suspended in limbo, grieving and unable to move forward in any way until we had said our goodbyes. All around us the world seemed to be twinkling and full of excited jollity but our hearts couldn't rise to it so we have avoided the festive parties, the music stations on the radio and the Christmas specials on the television. The weather hasn't helped: it's been grey and dull and I think it has actually rained every day. Perhaps the heavens are as sad as we are? We travelled back to the south coast of England for the funeral at the end of last week.
If there is a positive in all of this, it is the realisation that we have very caring and supportive family members, friends and colleagues. Some have rung us, some have sent cards, some have sent text messages and emails, some have prayed for us, some of you have left comments here and some have given practical help; every little act has counted, every single one has made a difference. I feel that we have been blessed in this way.
So, we have only had a few days to make our Christmas preparations. We have done some gentle shopping (but not enough), posted a couple of cards (but not enough), laundered the Christmas linen and I have spent today tidying and cleaning. Today is the day of the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere, the day when the North Pole is tilted at its furthest point from the sun, the shortest day of the year with only 7 hours 49 minutes of sunlight. If you have been popping in here for a while, you will know that I like to observe the passage of the earth around the sun by marking each equinox and the solstice. I hadn't really thought about it this time, but this afternoon, making our home ready for Christmas, it suddenly hit me: we shall put up a Christmas tree, bedeck it with lights, light candles and drink mulled wine. It feels like the perfect way to celebrate the solstice. (Also, Michael Buble's Christmas special is on the television, the perfect way to usher in Christmas, I think!)
I'll be back soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x