So Christmas is nearly upon us. We had originally said that we weren’t overly worried about Christmas Day because the hardest days are every day and all of the small things. Actually the build up has been undeniably tough. It’s impossible to miss the excitement bubbling up in everyone around you.
Last Friday marked 6 months since Oscar died and we had launched a Christmas Campaign to support the children’s wards at the John Radcliffe Hospital. We had an amazing response. Unbelievable really. We never dreamed that the reaction would be so generous and so far reaching. We received so many parcels from people whom we have never met, sending messages of support, which was incredibly uplifting. Actually preparing for the trip to the hospital was unexpectedly difficult because as we unpacked all the gifts ready to take we were coming across book after book that Oscar would never read or toys that he would never get to play with. The reception from the team at the hospital when we arrived was really kind. This was our first time back on the ward and it was difficult. The staff made it as easy as they possibly could and some of the nurses who we’d gotten to know whilst Oscar was being treated and subsequently, had made a special effort to be there which was nice. The hospital do receive a lot of donations at Christmas time for individual kids but we were able to make in impact on replenishing the playroom resources which was our intention.
There was an interesting article in The Times this week written by a lady who lost her husband and one of her four children in a horrific motorboat accident in Cornwall in May 2013. She spoke, as we have, of how Christmas is a strangely isolating time. But she also spoke positively about how she owes it to her other three children to give them the best Christmas possible… not so much in material terms but by enjoying family traditions and sharing special experiences together. So having arrived at my parents this evening, Holly had a gorgeous time racing around the house hand in hand with her cousin, laughing. As bedtime approached they prepared their tray for Father Christmas, with the mince pies, a carrot and a drink and they scattered reindeer trail outside to guide the sleigh to the house. Both took their responsibilities very seriously. Then they carefully arranged the stockings at the ends of their beds and, exhausted by their afternoon of play together, happily dozed off….. much the same as children of a similar age the country over.
So we will absolutely ensure that Holly has a magical day. In the morning we’ll go across to Oscar’s grave and reflect on how irrevocably life has changed and how much we miss him. Then we’ll send him our love, pull ourselves together and drive home to spend a Christmas Day, just like many of our friends, mucking around with the kids and enjoying their excitement and banter.