It has been a strange start to the new year for me, I have started it without my dad.
Richard Garrett died on the 22nd of December. He did not pass away or go to sleep, we have not lost him, he died and we are here learning how to live without him. I know my family and I are not the only people to have lost someone but I think it’s too soon for that to be comforting, I still feel very selfish. What is comforting is the huge outpouring of love and support we have received and the memories of the life dad lived. I am trying to feel lucky, lucky that we had time to say goodbye, that we had 9 years after the cancer diagnosis and that he fought so well, lucky that he taught me so much, lucky that we went on incredible holidays, ate amazing food and laughed hysterically. He had, and gave us, the most amazing life.
Most people view the new year as a new start but I’m not sure I’m ready for that. There is too much to process from the last year, from the last month of it. I don’t want a new year, I want the last 21 again and again. I didn’t make any new years resolutions but what I will say is this; I want to make him proud daily and remember him always, however that may be.
We’ve started a JustGiving page in dad’s memory. Before he died he asked for money to be fundraised in his name for The Bedford Hospital Primrose Unit, where he was treated throughout his illness, and St John’s Hospice, where he spent his final weeks. If you’d like to give anything, no matter how small, you can donate here.
It is a strange time of year, it’s just before the Christmas festivities kick in properly but winter has definitely arrived, its dark before 4 and I don’t think I’ve seen the sun in at least a 10 days.
For the last week or so I think I’ve been out of sorts, I think lots of people have. It’s hard when the weather is so cold and all anyone can think about is university deadlines. There are also lots of things happening with my family at home so its hard to be away from them, I feel very distant. That being said, you’re not here to listen to me complain, so on a more positive note, here are a few of things that I’m appreciating and are helping to keep me (slightly) sane, they may work for you too.
- Rubbish rom coms and Christmas films with whoever will watch them with me. Would recommend Texas based Forever my Girl on Netflix and I’m just days away from getting Love Actually on.
- To do lists. Especially with small goals, everyday feels productive, even if I’ve just showered, can give that a tick.
- Yes its cold, but trying to stay inside doesn’t mean retail therapy has to stop due to the wonder of online shopping. In my case its online browsing but still.
- Christmas Markets may be overpriced and not quite the same as actually being in Germany but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a visit, one of the best ways to feel festive.
- Speaking of festive, I have decided there is no shame in buying an advent calendar for yourself, or asking someone to get one for you. Its the small things.
- Food is a friend, especially in winter when you’re in layers rather than bikinis. Plan warm meals and spend time cooking with people.
- I may not be middle aged but I’m loving Radio 2 (don’t laugh), I think because it reminds me of home, but its always nice to have on in the background. Or a podcast, I love The High Low and Pillow Talk (the fact I host the latter doesn’t change my opinion).
- Facetime and phone the people you care about. It’s not the same as being with them but it helps.
- Make plans. Whether its a coffee with a friend or what’s happening on New Years Eve, its good to have things to look forward to other than submitting an essay.
I hope that helps but if all else fails, whack on some Christmas music and whip out the mince pies, no judgement here.