Once upon a time I loved the so called season of goodwill ever since childhood. The one time of year that you can dream. That magic comes to life for young and old alike. And more importantly we remember as Human beings to treat each other a way that’s sadly sometimes forgotten the other 11 months of the year.
December 1st. The start of the traditional advent calendar in the British isles. A festive tradition going back many years. Nowadays some may argue it’s now a commercialised money making process that has engulfed and swallowed the true meaning of Christmas. For me it still retains that magic despite the flaws despite the pain it brings.
A door to open every day of December leading up to Christmas. Something special behind each frame stares back at you every day. Something thought provoking. From a snowman to a reindeer. Each handle opening a door to my imagination.
As a child I used to love counting down the days until Santa arrived. The sheer excitement of hoping for gifts. As a child it offered me an escape for just a little while. Some magic that could make me forget what sometimes was a cruel world.
I simply missed the point and even as an adult it took tragedy to wake me up.
As a parent my world has changed. I now have a little human being depending on me. Being a Dad is the greatest gift I have ever received whether it be Santa’s magic or other forces at work. Waking up each day seeing a smiling face and hearing the cherished words of “I love you Daddy” finds the target of the centre of my heart each time the words are despatched.
2009 changed me. As a person forever. For me a crisis was a missed bus home or forgetting my lunch and having to pop to shops. Then I became a father for the 1st time.
Kyle McGuire came into my life on May 6th 2009. My 1st born son. Asleep in my arms for eternal minutes I will cherish as long as my heart beats and beyond. My 1st experience of having a beautiful extension of my newly formed marriage in my arms. Tears silently fell into the night as nightmares crept from my sleep and became the reality I never dreamed would happen.
We had 12 precious hours with our only son which we squeezed in a lifetime of memories and cuddles. Daddy is no x factor winner but I sang every nursery rhyme my lungs would allow to escape the choking pain to our wee fella. I cupped his hands and made a vow his memory would live on.
In the coming days we had to register a birth and a death in one singular moment. Reality was piercing my self imposed bubble and the cracks were starting. I held firm as A father I knew my family had to be protected.
On a beautiful sunny day I fulfilled my duty of carrying my boy in his beautiful angelic white bed and laying him to sleep one last time. Thankfully the sun was shining as my sunglasses hid my eyes the day my soul was dying before everyone to see. I repeated my vow as balloons sailed high.
Our life in ruins. I can’t describe any other way. Until Kyle had other ideas. His little sister was on her way. Our healing was beginning. Fate was now entering our lives.
Christmas Day 2009. Under the beautiful shadow of a snowy Ben Nevis we made the trip home. All I can give my lad on his 1st Christmas is a wreath and the pain was colder than the ice below my feet. And then something happened I can’t explain. A Robin lands on the grass, hops on the Gravel and sits on Kyle’s headstone. Finally he lands on my boot and looks at us for what seemed an eternity then flies away. Our Angel was saying his very own goodbye and amongst the Freezing snow, we felt the warmest glow possible. It ignited my fire that moment. It was Christmas magic beyond my wildest dreams.
In the coming years life took a great bloody kick at us. Cancer went after Kyle and Amelies mummy. Their mummy fought and won. As a family we fought together. We raised 7 thousand pounds in Kyle’s name. For all our pain we felt there was always someone worse off. 6 marathons came and went. Highs and lows. Blood, sweat and rivers of tears.
2018 has been a special year for our little family. Kyle’s name was heard in our parliament as we fought alongside many others to have funeral expenses abolished I’m Scotland. And we won. Proud beyond words of what our Son achieved. His mummy beat cancer and has been discharged from the NHS. For the 1st time in 10 years we have a very special Christmas to look forward to. Forget money and riches. Our family has had a lottery win with luck at last with our health. This year we are eternally grateful for all. We have each other.
Amelie now understand Christmas more than I ever did at her age. 8 years old and after selling her excess toys she donated her money to the local foodbank by buying a full shopping trolley of food. As a parent I’m bursting with pride at what both of our kids have achieved this year.
In my darkest days I questioned many things. I walked on the edge and stared into the abyss. Amongst the darkness hope flickered back. I grasped onto it and clung to it no matter how faint. It saved my life.
We have taught our daughter it costs nothing to simply be kind. Someone could be hurting behind a glass smile and you wouldn’t know. She still has her list for Santa although it’s small and mainly asked for something for her Mummy and cat. Another sign we are on the right path.
I’m eternally grateful for all the goodwill shown to my family. Not just the month of December but all year round. From strangers on social media I now class as friends to our loved ones around us. You have shown us love and kindness we will try and give back as you have for us. I promised our lad and we will try and make the world a tiny bit better if we can.
I’m writing this the day we put up our tree. A smiling little face as bright as the electrical beams reflecting back at her. Simple innocent childhood joy. We know our tree isn’t the only star beaming down at us.
Whatever your beliefs are I sincerely wish you the very best for the coming Holiday season. Life is so precious. Enjoy every moment. Christmas really can be every day if you want. We only get one chance. Leave no regrets x