Sunday, December 29, 2019

Romjul or Twixtmas

Maybe I am the only person alive that has never heard of Romjul but I am really excited I have now discovered it.  

Living in other cultures over the years I have tried to maintain my childhood Christmas experience and traditions.  But since we live in America now, we don't have any Boxing Day.  I know!!!  They just don't know what they are missing.  But, we roll with it because... 'when in Rome' yada yada yada.  I worked for a school district for 15 years so I had the time off anyway. I was a lucky one and retired last Christmas.  I still struggle with the idea of business as normal, on December 26, - for most people including immediate family members, which is a bit dismal. 

I have been pondering and ruminating on this lack of prolonged Christmas.  I remember when I was young we entered a time-warp where nothing existed outside the house we were in, usually at my Nana's in Gloucester.  We took a coach (no it did not have horses) and often we were stuck in snow drifts or lost traction on icy hills.  My mother and I watching through a foggy window, alarmed, as the men got off the bus to throw gravel under the wheels.  My brother vomiting in a bag as the bus slithered backwards.  I digress.

I am excited to have found a formal name for the period between Christmas and New Year now thanks to trusty Norsemen.  

Romjul.  I love this written by Alf Pr√łysen

"One should have been four years old in Romjula when the Christmas lights were shining all day long and the world was a house with four walls, where the very bliss was a grandmothers lap."

Here is a link to the Metro article where I discovered this exciting information.

I will now always remember I am justifiably in Romjul and have a perfectly good excuse to do absolutely nothing all day and every day....after all Ancestry dna said I am teensy-weensy part Scandinavian.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Reflections 2019

Christmas gifts have been purchased, wrapped and unwrapped. Food has been purchased cooked and eaten. Children big and small have spent the day engrossed in new and interesting endeavors. Now I sit quietly contemplating precious decorations which adorn the tree which were made by my own children and grandchildren. A small glittery bell made from construction paper contains a photo of Damien when he was about 7. Who knew that this small creation would be one of the things I treasure so much? This is his work, he cut and pasted and put glitter on it and glued the picture in place. His little hands busily making something for the Christmas tree and proudly presenting to us, his parents. How could I have known the value of such a small thing he made. But now many things he did have become treasures. His school notebooks, his poetry scribbled in his own hand as his thoughts were penned to paper. Moments in his life so random but so special and of course we have treasured our memories.

Getting through Christmas for me is to throw myself into the tasks needing to be addressed; to create a day for the family to enjoy, staying busy, without bringing everyone down on this day of all days. Nobody has forgotten our loss and deserve to revel in this moment and create new memories around the space where Damien should be - with us - in our lives. Living with loss means we prioritize our needs and manage expectations which are adjusted and re-adjusted as the occasion dictates.  It is not black & white, easy vs hard.  It is living with loss and learning how to cope around it.
It’s easier said than done and took many years of baffled confusion to reach some understanding of this other life, one foot in the present and one foot firmly in the past. It is an ongoing struggle which you can choose to lose yourself in or try to make the best of it and hold yourself and what is left of your family together, for them, just for Christmas at least.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Unresolved Grief

Is this grief?

My son is missing and I don’t know why
Damien Nettles aged 9
As he left the house he waved bye bye
I woke up to his empty room
My gut feeling? Foreboding and gloom!
Surely he’ll come home as he always had before
He must turn up; we will hope for the best
But I could not ignore that sense of unrest
As time wore on I knew this was wrong
Nothing I learned seemed to help us along
What happened to him? I may never know
My loss is deep and the pain still raw
There now lives an empty place in the heart of our home
I mourn his short life that filled us with laughter
We remember him fondly and share all his banter
Arms and legs flailing as he cavorted about
Acting the fool larger than life
How we miss this lad
Our lives are tinged with sadness
Sometimes it feels like madness
I struggle with unresolved loss
Somewhere between ifs and maybe’s
Do I live in hope?
Do I accept he is dead?
How can I bury my son with no body to rest?
No grave, no marker to visit ?
I cannot grieve fully, but grief?  Is it?
Unresolved lonely and empty

Valerie Nettles December 2019

The Boy Who Disappeared - available in good bookshops, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Audible

Twitter: @damiennettles