Ring Out Solstice Bells

It has been almost a month since I last wrote anything, either for this blog or for anything else. That’s unlike me and if this had been a year or two ago it would have been a warning sign. But life is very different now, and is much better, so I hope I never leave you unattended for that long again! Here are a few thoughts that have been kicking around in my head.

I’m posting today as it seems appropriate. If you have seen my To Remember A Friend page or the accompanying piece I wrote for it – Every December Sky – you will know that it is the anniversary of the sad day last year that my friend Cal was taken from us, at such a tragically young age. I have marked this on Twitter but wanted also to use this as a reminder for those who knew him, or as an introduction for those who didn’t. And of course I’ve sent a message to Cal’s family to let them know that they and he are in my heart and thoughts today.  Two years ago, when my illness was at its worst, I may well have been feeling extremely low about something like this, but I’ve changed. I’m much stronger now and feel that Cal would want his friends to be positive, to look forward rather than back, and to remember the joy he took from life and instilled in others. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m feeling wonderfully mellow today, listening to Christmas songs – but not Slade! I took the title for this piece from my favourite Christmas song. If you don’t know it, here’s a video of it:

It is a joyful song, and that is what we should all have in our hearts, especially at this time of year. I love Christmas, and hope you do too. I have the best of all worlds – plenty of family time but I actually get to spend Christmas Day on my own. Some may think it strange I say that, but as I wrote last year in Home Alone I draw a distinction between being alone and being lonely. I can be happy on my own and in the end I spent a large part of last Christmas Day chatting on the phone and online – it was a lovely day! In that piece I mentioned a couple of people who were also in my thoughts. I spoke of a dear friend who lost her father at this time last year, and want to tell her I hope for the best for her and she is very much in my thoughts. And the lady who lives opposite has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is looking very frail. They and Cal’s family deserve all the love I can give them.

And so do we all – that is the point I’m trying to make. There are some people who seem to think their role in life is to be nasty, cruel and abusive – you only have to look at a newspaper or Twitter to see plenty of examples. But even they probably have people who love and care about them, and if they cannot find it in their hearts even to be kind to people at this time of year then there is no hope for them! There are 17 days to the main event. No doubt we will all be incredibly busy preparing, partying and generally getting caught up in the vast juggernaut that Christmas has become. But we can all find a time for reflection – on what Christmas means for us; on what it means for the people we love and care about; on how we can do something, however small, to bring joy to someone who deserves it.

I’ll try, and I hope you will too. It could make all the difference for someone.

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