Well its been a long long time since I blogged anything simple and down to earth, let alone just about me, and not moaning about companies and organisations. So I thought it was about time I did, so here goes.
First off, apologies for any typos I might make and miss, but I am trying this blog entry out on my new ACER Chromebook. I shall come back to that in a bit.
So..... What a year. Without a doubt the main factor has to be the passing of my dear Aunt Joan Hughes. This time last year, this exact time and day in fact, I was in Colwyn Bay making a surprise visit to her. Spending a little too long over at the carers house getting up to speed on how Joan had been, I finally went over to a rather frosty reception, and quite a telling off. Something I have grown used to in the years of visiting.
Slightly taken aback by the changes which had happened since I had see her last, but the time spent there together was as special as ever. Little did I know at the time that this would be the last time I would really see Joan at home, and the last bit of quality time we would spend together. As chatty and argumentative as ever, we spent hours talking about all sorts of things, before it was time for me to head home.
I remember the day well, as on my journey to and from Wales there were a series of nasty accidents resulting in fatalities and major road closures. Leaving me getting home at about midnight, and popping my M&S turkey ready meal in the oven for very late dinner. No repeat of that this year, with the creation of my own roast dinner, which was delightful.
It seemed only a few weeks later that I returned to Wales, around my birthday, on hearing the news that Joan had taken a turn, and was now in a home. It was only just over a week later, on what would have been mums birthday, that the last of the 3 Lunt sisters from Old Colwyn would pass away, leaving a huge hole in the fabric of my life as I knew it at that time. The end of a generation, the end of the blood connection to a place which has always been dear in my heart.
A sad time was quickly surpassed by a strange time for me. A time spent in Wales, with Chris, Noel, and Chantal to name but a few. A time spent organising what can only be described as the disposal of Joan's estate, and what felt like a deletion of a connection to a special place. Reading the eulogy at Joan's funeral, looking out at all the faces of the people who had come to share that last moment, and pay their respects, I realised that THIS was what really meant something to me. Not the reading, not the attention, but the love respect and connections of friendship.
Since this time I have really started to appreciate my true friendships, and respect those people deem 'friends'. Knowing that I would move a mountain to help them at a moments notice, and to know that however infrequent the meetings and conversations, that respect is mutual. It gives me great comfort to know, just like my aunt, I too have people like this in my life. So to you, I say thank you.
The rest of the year has been full of stress and distractions. Dealing with solicitors, estate agents (some great, some rubbish), executors, car rental companies, the list is endless. But over this time two things have kept me afloat, material objects, and food. Both things that I actually despise to an extend. But seeing as I am typing on one of those material objects to write this blog, I guess some good comes from them.
Food however is my enemy right now, and I intend on doing something about that starting in a few weeks time. Until then, I shall indulge myself and make the most of it.
Just watching the Queen's Speech after my home made lunch, for the first time I might add. I was surprised to see quite a basic speech, not highlighting the years events, but focusing on the inner person. Something I like to do quite a lot. Time for reflection is something we all need, apparently even the Queen does from time to time. So it turns out im normal after all.
Throughout this year many people I know have suffered in one way or another. From losing a loved one, to suffering from ill health of some sort. Again, it is at times like this you realise who your friends are. Having been through most of the above quite frequently over the past few years, I can appreciate what they are going through. To you all, I wish you all the best in overcoming these times, and striving to be stronger, for yourself and those around you.
So as the end of another year comes into sight, and all the memories of 2013 go into storage, regardless of what has happened, the highs, the lows... Lift your head high, and strive to fight on for another year, with each day of life being a gift in itself, everyday is Xmas, so don't waste the gift you have.
My final thought is a strange one, certainly for me, and might be a bit weird for others, including one certain person. But here goes...
2013 saw my daughter (the one I rarely speak of anymore) turn 18, an age of maturity, an age of independence. With this coinciding with my 40th year, my aunts passing, and many other milestones, something has changed in my life, and for the better (in a nice way).
I am the oldest generation of a family now, the highest tier, I have no legal responsibilities to anyone, I am soon to be debt free for the first time in years, so can catagorically say that I am borderline stress free, string free, chain free etc.
Seeing peoples pictures of their Xmas trees surrounded with gifts, having people reach out to me to ask me not to spend Xmas Day alone this year, and realising that the Xmas spirit I remember from a child is still within me somewhere, well its kinda made me quite sad. But at the same time determined too.
No longer am I in limbo between being a son, but also an absent parent. I no longer have the calling to travel to ensure relatives are ok on this day. But from this point on, I can enjoy Xmas again, and give it the respect it deserves.
So I say this now, and will keep my word. I have NO idea what I will do for Xmas 2014 yet, but I promise you one thing... I WILL celebrate it!
Thank you to everyone for reaching out, and helping reignite the flicker of Xmas within me.