My family has experienced a second Christmas without Barry. From my point of view, and that’s all I can really comment on, we did extremely well.
I deliberately changed the ways we do things this year. I invested in a new tree and decorations. I invited the family to join us for Christmas lunch – I haven’t done that in a decade. I purposefully didn’t leave the wrapping of Christmas presents until Christmas Eve as that would have tormented me and this time of year is meant to be happy.
This year, I did things differently, but I still included Barry in my own little ways. On Christmas Eve, Gary and I visited the cemetery. We removed the flowers in the tiny vase (which we will return in the New Year) and placed a festive decoration in there instead. We spent some time walking around the cemetery and then we wished Barry a merry Christmas and left.
On Christmas day I had intended to light a “flame of life” while everyone opened their presents, but in the chaos I forgot. I did feel guilty about this later, but quickly told myself that it was OK. Not lighting a candle isn’t like forgetting Barry. He was with me all day. I wore a locket with his photo inside. I looked at the photos we have on the walls and shelves numerous times. Barry’s name came up in conversation several times too. Life goes on.
Gary’s grandson (aged 3) asked his mum who the drawing was of and I heard her say, “That’s your Uncle Barry.” She didn’t know I saw or heard this, but it felt good to know that Barry has not been forgotten or overlooked.
I feel we have made progress. We are mending. We are moving on. Barry would have wanted it this way. Barry would be pleased that we managed to enjoy Christmas.