Christmas has reared its festive head once again and after the year we have endured it is the glimmer of cheer to round off this diabolical year. That time of the year where no matter the mood, the sight of a beautifully lit tree in all its sparkling glory gives you that warm, melancholy feeling inside. Hot chocolates lathered with full fat squirty cream topped with pink and white spongy marshmallows, the standard daily drink which your hips don’t thank you for. More loose corks than presents under the tree whilst Fairytale of New York catches you off guard and you realise your eyes have filled up with white wine induced tears. Conjuring up our Christmas plans, Covid friendly of course and the main priority, a fully stocked wine bar and fridge. It really is the time for appreciating everything you have whilst mustering up the resolutions for the brand-new year.   in our feels

Nevertheless, every year, someone is missing, and I find myself asking again Has it really been another year without her? I can’t even remember the last Christmas with her. Christmas has always been a bittersweet time for me, even though it takes pride in its ‘most wonderful time of the year ‘trademark’. Truth is everyone is really fucking sad, dressing their sad eyes with glitter eyeshadow and covering the hollow hole in their heart with a ridiculous, knitted festive jumper. I try not to trample angrily over the Christmas spirit. I’m guilty for overcompensating for an award-winning Christmas but by the time the day is over, I realise it’s the same repetitive routine and the two-player game of Monopoly went down like a lead balloon. I don’t want a tub of quality street to force myself through before the 1st of January ‘New year, New me’ malarkey starts. What I really want is her back, that woman I once knew. The safety blanket I once had and took for granted. I want her dressed to the nines, glass of Asti in hand or I’ll take her in her comfies, tea towel over shoulder picking at the turkey. Her warm green eyes that squint when she’s concentrating and her short smile that shows her two front teeth crossing, mirroring mine. A chance to hear her voice again saying ‘ open this one next ‘ I would let her voice settle through me and calm me as a lullaby would, capture it and hold onto it and never let it go. That would sure be icing on the Christmas cake.

It’s a love hate relationship with that old devil called Christmas. A yearly reminder another year has passed. Another year without wishing her Merry Christmas, another year of not pulling a cracker with her, another year of not being able to write ‘For Mum’ on a gift tag. It’s the small things that are the most wounding. It was the 2018 Boots advert that was dedicated to Mum that hit me like a ton of bricks every time it came on. It’s the John Lewis 2020 ‘Give a little love’ that glazes my eyes over and I’m whisked away to a better 25th December with her. The whole day is tainted with woe and I catch myself convincing myself that her spirit sits at the table next to me. That the cold breeze across the back of my neck is her playing tricks on me until I see the back door open airing the room from the smoky oven. When Christmas approaches, grief packs its bags with the excitement of a vacation, free accommodation staying inside of Sasha’s frustrated, emotional soul. Grief is the great master puppeteer, it knows without failure that it will be a sell out show. The Christmas spectacular – bring tissues.

My twelfth Christmas without Mum and it never, ever gets easier. If I had known all those Christmases ago when she purposefully hid the very last present of a Password Journal under the stairs or when she made me think I’d lost my Nokia 3310 only to re-open it on the day and discover a brand new Groovy Chick case. I would of hugged her so tight and nuzzled in her neck taking in the Mum scent I no longer know. I guess that’s the lesson in life, we only think about doing these things until its ultimately to fucking late. As cliché as it sounds it could never be more true, you don’t know what you have got until its gone. So, whilst this Christmas will be in true 2020 style and the opportunity of mixing is forever in limbo. Don’t frown at the suggestion of a Christmas day zoom quiz and if you can hug and tell your loved ones how much they are appreciated and loved because the reality is you’ll never be prepared for when the final curtain may come down on the Christmas Spectacular you currently know.

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