In the build up to Christmas my feisty, independent Grandmother who lived alone (her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack) used to say she didn’t want to go anywhere for Christmas and would like to stay at home by herself. Her Daughters would have none of it and she would eventually cave in to the pressure. She would arrive before lunch, sit in a straight-backed chair with her handbag on her lap, dish out envelopes containing money to us all – what she called our Christmas Box. She would eat her lunch, return to the high-backed chair with handbag placed on lap, ready for the off and say she needed to be taken home before it was dark.
My Mother and Father in their last years wanted to be in their own home and would invite me to join them – the deal was that we could have exactly what we wanted to eat. Mine was normally salami and olives; my Mother a lamb chop and my Father Prawns and Avocado. It was perfect – loving, gentle, with plenty of laughter and chat.
Now I have moved up the ladder, with no family alive, I want to apologise to my Grandmother for not fighting her corner to stay at home. I too want to have a Christmas in my own house eating what I want and watching box sets. I welcome all the very kind invitations from people who think I should not be by myself – it shows I am cared about. But honestly, I don’t want to be an ‘add on’ to someone else’s family Christmas – my stuff but it genuinely makes feel sad and uncomfortable. To swerve invites in the past I have volunteered to work in Homeless Shelters but they are overwhelmed with Volunteers in my area this time of the year so better to be involved at other times. This year I have volunteered to take any calls that come in from the End of Life Doula UK website on Christmas Day. That’s not being selfless but I cannot think of anything I’d rather do and it means I can get on with the business of salami, olives and saturation in Breaking Bad. The Cats will get a turkey nosh.
I agree no one should be home alone at Christmas if they want to be part of people festivities but that applies all the year around. Sending love to all those who are alone not by choice.