Sunday, December 26, 2021

Christmas 2021

Christmas was never as big a deal for Nigel and me as it was for other people. That turned out to be a good thing for me, making Christmas less difficult than it often is for others mourning a loved one. I’m truly glad about that.

There were many years I published a post on Christmas Day and beginning in 2016 those posts included a modified photo of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, something I continued up until 2019, my last Christmas as an Auckland resident (links to those posts below). The 2016-19 posts weren’t merely virtual Christmas cards, but were also intended to create the impression we were at home, because, caution, and all that. But I didn’t continue that tradition in 2020 because I wasn’t living in Auckland anymore and I didn’t have an appropriate Hamilton photo to use in a new image for the blog (and I still don’t).

Tradition! Christmas is one holiday that’s so laden with traditions—family, individual, cultural, whatever—that it’s sometimes hard to focus on the parts that really matter to US. I talked about how that relates to me when I posted my final Christmas selfie (in the montage above; caption at the bottom of this post) to Instagram:
Holidays like Christmas are often difficult for those of us who’ve lost our spouse, but I’m lucky that Nigel and I didn’t have any specific Christmas traditions, except for one thing: Spending our Christmas with family. I still do that, and now for both of us. Our family are some of the most amazing people on the planet, and I love our get togethers. I lost the love of my life, and, yes, I think about Nigel all the time, especially at family gatherings. But nowadays it’s not with sadness, it’s about reminiscing, smiles, and even laughter. Nigel would’ve loved today; I loved it enough for both of us.
To be clear, I absolutely felt sadness when thinking about Nigel yesterday (I’m pretty sure the last time I was at that relative’s house was with Nigel, though I didn’t tell them). The important thing is that sadness wasn’t the dominant thing. Instead, the important thing was that I was still able to keep the only real Christmas tradition Nigel and I had: Being with family.

I read somewhere or other that grieving people should approach the Christmas holiday (in particular) with a determination to create new traditions. When I read that, I probably rolled my eyes, and maybe even snorted in the equivalent of saying “Bah!”. It turns out, though, that I seem to have done exactly that: Beginning in 2019, and continuing both Christmases since, I’ve made my “Nuclear Fudge” (I talked about that particular “food” in April last year). I still think “tradition” is a bit too strong a word for it, but, well, how many times does one repeat something for a particular holiday before it qualifies as a tradition? I have no idea, but, at the very least, this making Nuclear Fudge for Christmas is getting close to being one.

I was back home when the evening news broadcast was only about halfway through, so it was nice and bright and sunny outside—and hot: It was a very hot Christmas this year, at least the high 20s up to around 30 (mid 80s F). That didn’t dampen what was a great time, though.

Food is always a highlight of Christmas, as is the company, but this year there was one more special addition: I got to see my sister-in-law and her daughter (my niece) who live in Auckland. I think the last time I saw them was in June, and they couldn’t leave Auckland (and none of us could go see them) while the city was under a Covid lockdown for four months from August to December. Seeing them again made my day.

So, Christmas this year was a good one, and I think each one is getting a bit better. I can say that because I started from a good place: That Nigel and I didn’t have any Christmas traditions apart from being with family, and I’ve been able to continue that tradition for us both. This was my third Christmas without Nigel, and even though I miss him every single day, and still would do literally anything to get our life together back, I’m nevertheless adapting to the (still new) reality more and more all the time. This holiday was just another example of that.

Merry Christmas to everyone, especially Nigel.

In the photo montage above: Top left is what I posted to my personal Facebook on Christmas morning. In retrospect, I could have shared it here, too. Top right: What I dubbed my “First selfie, Christmas 2021” when I posted it to social media. Lower left: My “That’s a wrap for Christmas 2021” photo that I linked to (and quoted from) up above. Lower right: My photo from this morning, of which I said, “Perfect (for me…) Boxing Day breakfast: Scrambled eggs with a pinch of dried herbs, fried leftover Christmas ham, multigrain toast, and a cuppa joe—and Leo laying on the floor near me hoping (in vain) that something yummy might be dropped. Now I’m all fortified for the Boxing Day sales that I’m *NOT* going to today.”

The posts where I used the Auckland harbour Bridge photo:

Merry Christmas (2016)
Merry Christmas 2017
Merry Christmas 2018
Merry Christmas 2019

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Merry Christmas. I think it took a while for us to develop a tradition for Christmas. I love Christmas Eve singing but Christmas Day... IDK