I wasn’t going to write this blog post. I ummed and ahhed about it for a while. Pretty much because…. it’s bloody hard.
It’s hard to write about such a sad subject, it’s hard to relive memories in your head when you’re missing someone and it’s hard to open up and be vulnerable on a blog open to the world!
Time never heals a loss – it only makes it slightly easier.
You never forget.
So please bear with me as I ramble on, probably making no sense whatsoever but hopefully eventually getting to the point. I’m not going to read back on this post – it’s raw words coming out of my head and being typed instantly never to be changed or edited. I will probably shed a few tears in the process but it’s all therapy. Or so they say.
With the memorial of the victims of the Croydon tram crash yesterday and indeed memorial Sunday coming up, it feels the right time to share this blog.
My boyfriends friend died in the tram crash and his death impacted significantly on our circle of friends. I never had the pleasure of meeting Dane, he was taken before I had that opportunity, but he left an impression in this world through his friends. They talk about him all the time and remember him constantly through funny stories of football away days, travelling all around the country supporting our team Crystal Palace. Every week they drink to his name before the game & constantly raise money in his honour to ensure his legacy lives on. I feel like I did know him.
I think it’s true when people say you’re stronger together. That’s certainly the case here. A big circle of friends remembering the good times and supporting each other through the grief. I love them all even more for it.
Yesterday was a touching memorial service marking one year since the tragedy and although it was a little bit of a media circus, I am sure the physical act of grieving together helped. Even if it was just a little bit.
Like I said – it gets easier over time but it never makes sense.
Whenever you’re faced with situations like this it reminds us all to savour life for what it is. Enjoy every single second because life is way too short. Dane was only in his 20’s and life was cruelly stolen from him. Maybe it was just his time? Maybe there is a greater good? None of it really makes sense and I wonder if we tell ourselves these things just to make ourselves feel better. You suffer a whirlpool of emotions that can sometimes be overwhelming.
My own Dad died young too. He was in his 40’s. I was 11 years old. That’s me there in the photo as a baby with my Mum and Dad. Incidentally I love that the red & blue that clouds my life today (Crystal Palace) all started way back then! Got to love how photos date but your memories never do. Sorry for putting this out there Mum 😉 hopefully you won’t get too much stick for your Farah Fawcett hairstyle. It is a day that I will never forget and one I won’t go into now. Even all these years on it’s hard to talk about.
I remember one Christmas my dad got a new camcorder – it was back in the 80’s when technology used to be the size of a house. He set it up on a tripod that day and basically recorded our entire Christmas on one single loop. No editing. No stopping the camera. Changing the batteries every half hour. I love that film and it’s something I treasure. The only thing was – he wasn’t in it enough! Tip one for Christmas this year – get in the photos. You might not feel great about yourself, you may feel like you’ve over indulged on Christmas Pudding. No one cares. Get in the photos so your loved ones have something to look back on when you’re gone.
Talking of Christmas pudding – I have great memories of eating my Grandad’s Christmas pudding when I was little – always stealing the titbits off of his plate. He is my name sake – I was named after him as he was named after his father before him and so on for generations before us. It’s a name I am proud of. George. Or in my case Georgina.
He led an interesting life as you can see from some of his army photos above. He was pretty short in comparison to how I turned out. He was about 5″4 and in my opinion incredibly handsome don’t you think? I love these photos of him in Egypt when he was in the army. He was hilarious & I have fond memories of eating jam on toast with him whilst watching the Pink Panther cartoon on TV and embedding empty yoghurt pots into the grass in the garden so we could play crazy golf.
This Sunday during the memorial service my thoughts will be with him.
My thoughts this weekend will also be with my Uncle Eddie. He was amazing. Heavily involved in the Royal British Legion and awarded an MBE. He was instrumental in the forming of the Herford (Germany) Branch of the British legion, initially holding the position of Entertainments Officer. That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest as the number of stories he had to tell never ended. He has a way with words and kept you captured for ages. I love a good story and he never disappointed.
He went on to hold the positions of Poppy Appeal Organiser, Welfare Officer and Branch Chairman. He was the District Parade Marshall and the District Chairman . He was a qualified Welfare Case Worker, Parade Marshall, Standard Bearer Judge and Trustee, and was on the RBL Board of Trustees, Council Member of the Poppy Factory and British Membership Council for the World Veterans Federation at National Level.
On Poppy Day I always have fond memories of watching him march past the cenotaph in London & our annual trip to the local Chinese and then the pub!
He once took my late Nan on a trip around the poppy factory in London and she did not stop talking about it for weeks! We bought matching poppies and I love wearing mine on remembrance Sunday as I remember them both.
That leads me onto the person I miss most at Christmastime especially. My lovely Nan. I cannot remember a Christmas where she didn’t get up and dance around the living room, sporting god knows how many different outfit changes, different hats and flashing badges or glasses or antlers. Christmas was her favourite time of year and that certainly rubbed off on me! (if you can’t already tell!)
I think she must have owned 50 sparkly wigs, various designs of Christmas hats and yet she brought new ones every year. She would disappear to a bedroom and then come out sporting a rainbow metallic wig which covered her eyes so she couldn’t see where she was going and come out shaking maracas or a tambourine – laughing so much she could barely walk straight. She had an infectious laugh. The life and soul of the party – even when there wasn’t a party she would create one.
To this day every time I hear the birdie song or anything by Patsy Cline I am immediately back in our living room dancing around without a care in the world.
So what’s the point to this blog post. Despite it being remembrance Sunday this weekend – I wanted to put a few thoughts together about remembering loved ones at Christmas because most of my recent blog posts have been about Christmas and they’re all happy and jolly posts – but no one ever seems to address the hurt people feel too.
I sell so many remembrance Christmas baubles on my website and for each one of those my customers often tell me their story. Sometimes its fresh. Sometimes years have past. But one thing everyone has in common is that feeling of loss and the innate need to remember them somehow. Especially at Christmas. I never turn down the opportunity to hear their story. In my opinion sharing helps us all.
Christmas is the one time of year when things seem even harder than they usually are. Perhaps its because it’s a time of remembering the good times, Perhaps its a time of wishing they are there to join in the fun. I don’t have any of the answers even though I wish I did.
All I know is that every time I make one of these memorial baubles I try my hardest to make it as perfect as possible for the recipient so they can add it to their tree year after year and remember. Just like I do.
Remembering is the one thing that we need to hang on to.
Of course, it’s not just about remembering people – it’s about remembering pets too.
So I am rambling again I know – but all I really wanted to do was issue a gentle remind to you all this Christmas. Everyone is fighting battles you don’t know about. Everyone is missing someone. Be kind to each other, take time to remember.
And above all else, try to have some fun in their memory and keep their legacy alive. xx