Rich: My First Christmas Without Mum

Christmas is all about traditions isn’t it, we all have our routine; wake up, open presents and have a spot of breakfast before getting down to the serious cooking!

Mine’s a little different; every Christmas Eve, I head to my grandma’s takeaway around 10pm for a family feast before patiently waiting for midnight to arrive when we can open our presents.

The first Christmas after I lost my mum was very strange, going to my grandma’s and being surrounded by her family, it was clear something was missing… my mum. I kept on expecting her to come round from the kitchen with a plate in her hand but she never did.

But as life goes on, so did our Christmas celebration. Delicious food was eaten and presents were opened at midnight.

The following day was different too; every Christmas morning, we take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree. This is pretty much our only tradition we have at home, a chance to capture the whole family another year older, but for that year, she wasn’t going to be a part of it.

It’s during these moments you realise that life has changed and it’ll never be the same. My mum’s no longer a physical part of our family. She’ll always be a part of us in spirit but there’s no putting my arm around her and smiling for the camera.

Special occasions like Christmas tend to make you realise moreso what you’ve lost, which is why they can be heartbreaking, especially the first one. I’d like to say they’ve got easier and in some ways they have a little but the sadness always returns. You learn to live again but Christmas can’t help but shine a light on what you’re missing. It’s like an old friend that reminds you of the great times you’ve had before reminding you that this year, well it’s going to be different.

Grief can sometimes make you feel like you’re the only person in the world… but you’re not. Last year, I realised this when I went to my first ever Light up a Life event and saw hundreds of people come together to remember loved ones we’ve lost and support the Hospice.

It gave me a chance to remember my mum but also focus on what I have now. I have a great team of colleagues here at Birmingham St Mary’s, and this Christmas we’ll be doing all we can to help families make the most of this special time of the year, whilst supporting families who might be approaching their first Christmas without a loved one.

So this Christmas, I’d like to ask you to make a donation and help us to support more families than ever before, and join me this Thursday at our Light up a Life celebration for a festive afternoon and evening of musical performances, fireworks and remembrance around our Hospice Tree.


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