It was always a big deal in our house. Both my husband and I had great memories of childhood Christmases. We tried to do the same for our own children. I think we did a pretty good job too. They have wonderful memories of our traditions.
Those little things that every family has and does that seem peculiar to other people. Foods, gifts, the timing of everything – different for every family but alike in its very uniqueness.
Before FTD, Christmas was a joyous occasion. We are not a religious family, but rather we enjoy the spirituality of our togetherness. We always made every effort to be together on that special day. Even when we moved out of state, our boys drove 3 hours one Christmas morning so that we could carry on our tradition. They have flown in on Christmas morning and flown out the following morning.
Even when our sons had families of their own, we somehow managed to incorporate the other families into our usual schedule and us into theirs. We embraced celebrating on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We continued our “Boxing Day” sports viewing and re-celebrating.
We never thought of spending it with anyone else or in any other way. We watched “Love Actually” & sang “Do They Know Its Christmas?”
But when the bastard disease came along, all that changed. It took a couple of years, but eventually we had to switch to non-alcoholic beer and wine and re-time some events to accommodate decreasing insight into what was happening.
To him. To all of us.
Christmas Present as we knew it was over.
He moved into residential care on December 9th, after 3 weeks in a psychiatric unit for evaluation. Our big family Christmas was not to be. We had thought it may be our last when we could all be together and had planned for family to fly in from two other states.
But it was not to be. We took it in turns to visit him at the Care Center, so that he would not be overwhelmed.
He had no idea it was Christmas. Not a clue. Just another day that the bastard disease had ripped from his mind.
We carried on our traditions of course. Cooked, ate, drank. Played board games, went for walks, went to the pub. Kept a stiff upper lip and soldiered on.
It felt weird without him.
I felt like “when he finds out he will be really pissed off”.
We were cheating somehow. He was around but not with us for the first time in thirty-five years. And he didn’t even know.
Last Christmas was the first one when he was no longer with us in body or spirit. So another weird one. We kept everything going for our grandchildren. But our spirits were deflated. Now he couldn’t even be pissed off for missing out on the festivities.
We didn’t really know what to do actually. We spent it quietly at home. Nothing joyous about it.
Christmas was always my favourite holiday. Our favourite holiday. In England , it sometimes goes on for two weeks.
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