One of the Best ThingsBy Emma Pearson
September 22, 2023
Photos my own taken these past days
3 January 2022
So Christmas and New Year have been okay. Better than okay. Moments that were really hard, of course; but more moments that have been really enjoyable.
Ben and Megan came back from the Netherlands where they study, and stayed largely at home while they were here.
Medjool went back and forth between his place and mine, though spent most of the time chez nous.
And my dad spent a week with us, and we delighted in multiple forest runs, piano duets, piano-flute duets with Megan, a meal out, two films at the cinema, a Christmas gift massage with the wonderful Laraba, followed by a lunch at Medjool’s apartment, and I am sure we did yet more things. The weather was mostly terrible, so once the run or dog walk was over, dad sat around contentedly, reading, playing piano, snoozing occasionally on the sofa, and even watched half a Netflix film.
It was a good, relaxed time.
I found Christmas day to be less impossibly hard, though it is still such a huge effort. I harbour a secret fantasy of spending Christmas day accountable to no-one except myself (and perhaps the pets), going on a long walk or ski, then sitting on the sofa in front of the fire, with a good book, or film. That day might yet come, and when it does, I am sure I will miss the challenge of getting food on the table for 10+ people, stressful as I find it. Ben and Megan have become pretty capable sous-chefs since I got my unwanted promotion to head chef some years ago. And Medjool more than readily accepts the conventional English Christmas fare, which, for a vegetarian, is saying something.
But the distress of Christmas day is less about getting food on the table than the absence of the three people so core to Christmas, so central to my family. Edward, Mike, Julia. Still not there. Not physically. When I so wish they were. It is still so hard. The lack of structure in holidays spent at home, all the more heightening their absence.
At the end of my dad’s week here, Medjool and I took him to the train station, and while we were waiting for his train to come in on the platform, dad started to take his leave. We hugged and expressed our thanks and gratitude for the time we had together. And then he said to Medjool – “Thank you – you are one of the best things that has happened in this family, to this family, for many years”.
It was a beautiful, heartfelt moment for the three of us; each profoundly touched by the depth and significance of the compliment.
Yes, Medjool is one of the best things that has happened, not just in my own life these past years, but in our collective family life too. My parents love him. My surviving kids love him. My friends love him. My pets absolutely adore him. My neighbours love him. And I love him.
Good things can emerge from a life gone sideways so many times.