December 25 has come and gone. My first Christmas without Hugo, survived.
Christmas was a day I had not been looking forward to. In many ways, yesterday was no different to any other day since March 28 this year – I still woke up without my son, and I still faced another day knowing I would not be able to touch him, care for him, sing to him or read to him. Those simplest pleasures of a mother.
Christmas was dreaded because of everything it represents: happy family times, and the fact that this time last year I was pregnant and looking forward to the baby’s first Christmas this year.
The week hadn’t been great because I’d got a stinking cold/virusy thing that had laid me low, and with it my mood. I felt like everything was like walking through treacle.
Yesterday morning, I was awoken just after 8am with a paw in my face from Fat Cat, her gentle way of telling me she wanted to go out. She has been spending more and more time with us this week, and has been incredibly affectionate demanding lots of cuddles; I don’t know if it’s because her family has gone away for a few days and she is a clever cat who knows where the soft touch lives, or whether she wants to offer us comfort. Either way, Martin and I are grateful for her company.
On the mantelpiece in our bedroom we display photos of Hugo, as well as some other special bits. Martin had set up some colour-changing lights on the mantelpiece as a surprise. The lights make the stars on the picture I made sparkle.
For the first time in a few days, I put some make-up on, styled my hair, and thought about my outfit. I chose a dress with a bright flowery print, and Martin wore a brightly-coloured shirt.
Yesterday wasn’t really about gifts, but people kindly bought us some. Hugo was remembered through these gifts, such as this beautiful Hugo stars bracelet from my Mum.
Martin’s gifts to me included Haruki Murakami’s latest book – a book I didn’t know was out, and I call myself a huge fan. I’ve lost a connection to things I once loved. Murakami is one of the authors whose books I will just pick up and read without pausing to look at what it is about – I know I will enjoy it regardless. Murakami’s new book is called The Strange Library. I love the old-fashioned library pocket on the cover. It is a beautifully-illustrated short story that I shall indulge myself in soon.
Martin says he bought it for me for inspiration, which is a great gift – reconnecting not only with my love of reading, but with my creativity and imagination. Murakami’s imagination is second-to-none – I find his books fascinating, partly because of the window in to Japanese culture and society, but also because his world is mesmerising, anything can happen. While I will not insult Murakami by comparing my writing to his, I hope to reconnect with that imagination and creativity – it is peeking out already, like little rays of sunshine in the dark.
We had the Parks and Recreation box set, but it was Game of Thrones we sat and watched. I’ve read all the books and have watched the series so far, but Martin hadn’t, and is now hooked too. It’s so good I don’t mind watching it again. In fact, the second time around is better, the third series in particular because there are certain storylines that divert from the book, which confused me during my first viewing. This time around, I can sit back and watch. As much as we like Parks, Thrones was an ideal choice yesterday because of the level of concentration needed to keep up with the story – it is engrossing.
There were some tears, inevitably. We thought of what should have been. Our cards to each other provoked tears; reminders that for a few hours on that day in February Martin was facing returning home alone. A Christmas with no baby and with no partner, either. It does not bear thinking about.
Smiles were put on our faces by the beautiful gifts people sent us in the forms of texts and messages saying how they were thinking of the three of us: me, Martin and Hugo. A gift that cost nothing, but was the most valuable of all. Thank you to everyone who took the time to do that – it meant so much.
I hope my readers enjoyed their Christmas. I hope Christmas was gentle to my readers who also have a broken heart.