As the carols course through my veins they open the floodgates to the ghosts of Christmas past and I clearly see, feel and hear the people and places long since gone. At Christmas, they are somehow more present due to their very absence. I glance up to check that his chest is still rising and falling, realising how much older his fragile body now seems. I catch my breath and fight the tears that well up.
Jolted from my melancholic ponderings, I let mum’s panic-stricken words clunk into place. “The pudding,” she continues, “I left it in the fridge!”
Lifted by her fretting back into the normality of Christmas with all its tasks, lists, and shipping of presents and food from A to B, I realise that I’m already turning this tangible ‘now’ moment into a ‘this time last year’ memory. But that’s how Christmas works, isn’t it? A fusing together of the past and the present and the future into a bittersweet continuum that somehow makes life more real.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.