It’s Official, We Are Living and Breathing the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… I Think. How Are You Feeling at the Moment?
As we approach the holiday season, many of us experience a mixed bag of emotions. The joy and excitement of Christmas, the hustle and bustle of preparations, and the nostalgic reflections on past memories can create a unique blend of feelings. This time of year can be particularly meaningful for some, while for others, it may bring a tinge of sadness or longing. Whatever your emotional spectrum may be, it’s essential to acknowledge and honor those feelings while finding moments of gratitude and joy amidst the chaos and introspection.
My Personal Journey of Embracing the Holiday Season
As expressed in my November column, I have always been a fervent admirer of the holiday season. It fills my heart with 70% Christmas cheer, as I revel in the festive ambiance and joyful celebrations. However, the remaining 20% of my emotional disposition is characterized by the inevitable chaos and frenzied rushing around that often accompanies this time of year. Add in a 10% reflective state, and you’ll get a glimpse of the complex emotional landscape I navigate during the holidays.
A Bittersweet Reflection on Loss and Gratitude
Amidst the cheer and jubilation of the holiday season, I carry a poignant remembrance of the “Mum-shaped hole” in my life. The passing of my beloved mother, Jane, on December 20th, 1992, has etched a profound sorrow in my heart. During December, as the world around me gleams with festive lights and joyous melodies, I find myself reflecting on her absence. This poignant remembrance fills me with a deep sense of longing and yearning for her tender presence during this special time of year.
Transforming Grief into Gratitude: Celebrating ‘Dead Mum Day’
For many years, the anniversary of my mother’s passing weighed heavily on my heart. I grappled with the grief and sorrow, often succumbing to a somber and melancholic disposition. However, seven years ago, I underwent a transformative shift in my mindset. With the loving support of my fiancé, Liam, I chose to reclaim the day as a celebration of my mother’s life, rechristening it as ‘Dead Mum Day’. This unconventional approach to honoring my mother’s memory has transcended the melancholy and transformed it into a day of profound gratitude and celebration.
Embracing a Positive Mindset: Honoring Life Amidst Loss
Choosing to commemorate ‘Dead Mum Day’ as a celebration of life has empowered me to embrace a positive mindset, even amidst the echoes of loss. Instead of surrendering to despair, I made a conscious decision to find solace in gratitude. By shifting my perspective, I’ve unearthed a wellspring of appreciation for the love and nurturing I received from my mother, the blessing of being a loving mother to my own children, and the sheer gift of being alive. Every day, no matter how poignant or challenging, offers an opportunity to embrace life in all its beauty and complexity.
Creating Magical Moments: Finding Joy in the Small Things
This December, amidst the whirlwind of festive preparations and emotional reflections, I have been fortunate to experience myriad magical moments. From my youngest daughter’s enchanting portrayal of a shepherd in her nativity play to my eldest daughter’s humorous transition into the world of teenage wish lists, each experience has infused my heart with immeasurable joy and cherished memories. These fleeting yet profound moments serve as poignant reminders of the abundance and beauty that surrounds me, weaving a tapestry of love and warmth that transcends any melancholy.
Advocacy and Charity Work: A Fulfilling Endeavor
Having weathered my own experiences of loss and adversity, I have become impassioned about supporting children’s charities and initiatives that seek to uplift and protect our younger generations. As an ambassador for the NSPCC and a participant in various charitable endeavors, I have been deeply moved by the power of collective action in transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families. My involvement with The Royal Foundation’s Centre for Early Childhood and other impactful organizations has been an unequivocal source of purpose and fulfillment, allowing me to contribute meaningfully to causes that resonate deeply with my personal journey.
A Royal Invitation and Reflecting on the Season
As the holiday season unfolds, I’m immensely grateful for the extraordinary privilege of attending The Princess of Wales’ ‘Together At Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey. This surreal and awe-inspiring experience has left an indelible mark on my heart, symbolizing the unity and joy that permeate this season of togetherness and goodwill. As I reflect on the joyful moments I have encountered, the cherished memories made, and the invaluable moments of gratitude and reverence, I am filled with a profound sense of contentment and hope for the coming year.
As we navigate the intricate tapestry of emotions that define the holiday season, may we find solace in moments of joy, comfort in remembrance, and boundless gratitude for the gift of life. Though challenges and losses may cast a shadow over our celebrations, may we choose to honor the legacy of our loved ones by embracing life with resilience, compassion, and unwavering hope. Wishing each of you a Christmas filled with love, warmth, and cherished moments, and may the coming year unfold as a tapestry of boundless possibilities and abundant blessings.