We did it. 10 adults, 4 children, a delicious Christmas lunch and many drinks had by all. Presents, swimming, a few joints, laughter, some tears, love.
Actually when I say some tears that's not quite right. I'd bought 3 candles as a centrepiece for the table and once everyone had sat down to eat I quietly cleared my throat and said something along the lines of "I'd like to acknowledge and remember 3 people who aren't here today, my Dad, Josh's Dad and the beautiful Donno. Even though they aren't here physically, I see each of them in the faces around this table and I feel them in the love and laughter we share together. Thanks for being here."
Between us we were 6 children missing our fathers and 2 wives missing their husbands. 2 kids without Grandfathers and our extra guests were both without partners, one a separated single mother.
When I looked up from my little speech, I'm not much of a public speaker, even in a small group full of loved ones I feel clammy and red cheeked, the entire table had eyes filled with tears, these burly men who are my brothers, those strong women who are our mothers. It surprised me, pleased me and satisfied me. Our pain at losing those men we have loved is still raw, still constant, but the relief at being with one another was great.
The rest of the day was as Christmas should be. Silly, fun, drunk, satisfying. There was no more talk or thought of who we were missing, because we were surrounded by what we have. Family. Friends. Children. Love. Memories, both old and new. It was one of the best Christmases I can remember.
It feels as though we have said an appropriate goodbye to 2012, not the best year, but full of great things. I'm feeling good about 2013, pretty good indeed :)