The sun setting on another year without you.

Our family Christmas was always very organised. My partner would micro manage all the key events. A plan for everything

– a Christmas Card List

– a Present List

– a Festive Food List

– the shopping lists and where which shops to buy each item in

– recipe lists for all cakes, biscuits and breads

– Precise cooking times for the Festive Meals

– a Christmas TV viewing list

So today as I stood amongst the massed ranks of shoppers I missed my list. I missed that bit of paper in my hand. I missed that comforting smile which would calm my rising anger at the shopping mayhem. I just miss her. But deep breaths, clear my head and crack on. Got to make this Christmas the best possible for our son. Nothing else matters.

So I find myself at the baking section. Why didn’t I write down the list of ingredients for a Stollen Cake. Looking at my basket. Currently the Stollen is marzipan and currents. How can shopping be this difficult. Few minutes later with a random cook book in hand I start to fill the basket. Where on earth do I find nutmeg. What on earth is cardamom. Why can’t I just use mixed or all spice. My partner would have sorted me out.

Helpfully the shop has put all the Christmas food together. Unhelpfully quite a lot of the festive food currently has use by dates well before the 25th. Am I supposed to freeze it then. My partner would have put me right.

Then a Lego section. Now that’s a cool set, son will love that. But hang on has he already got it. My partner would have known.

Then I’ve made it through the minefield which is the tills. The food scattered randomly in various shopping bags. Why didn’t I put the freezer stuff in one bag. My partner would have done that.

Walk towards the car and pass a lovely coffee shop. The smell of the coffee, the smell of the fresh bread and cakes. One free table. I turn to find no friendly loving face. Suddenly the table doesn’t look so inviting. Tell myself that because the freezer produce is randomly packed I had better give the coffee a miss and head home. That gives me a couple of hours to unpack, go for a run and get my happy game face on for our sons return.

So looking at the sunset. Yes it’s another year without her. But it’s also another year down this new journey. Yes it’s different but it still can be fun. Like returning the helpful cookbook and stumbling across a new Asterix book. Like pressing the button on that toy robot and watching it waddle off down the aisle as it fires off imaginary laser guns at the startled shoppers. My partner would have stopped me. Or asking the shop assistant where I could find Allspice for my cake. And the kind young man taking me to the section with men’s grooming products.

Or having a beautiful run in a deserted wood surrounded by wildlife, birds and even an owl. Yes grief can make you sad but it doesn’t stop you having fun as well. Now where’s my Asterix The Gaul comic book.

73 thoughts on “Sadness and Fun

      1. Well, I guess I am a little more ahead of the game than the store worker – I DO know what allspice is. Although I am not much of a baker. I am more of an “ish” which doesn’t work in baking when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of something. “Tablespoon – ish” really does matter and most of my stuff pays the price.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve kind of given up. Well, there is this one recipe that I hold onto and make every Christmas morning – it was my grandmother’s recipe, and when she passed I found it. It’s what she made every Christmas morning and would even ship to us even though we lived 10 states away. I have to let dough rise and everything to make it work. I even think “scalded milk” is in there. It requires so much attention (that I don’t have for baking) that it takes a whole year before I want to bake again.


  1. Walk towards the car and pass a lovely coffee shop… One free table. I turn to find no friendly loving face.
    Heart is aching for you. There are many especially difficult times throughout the year, Christmas is sadly one of those.
    The angels must have known of this wound in your heart. That’s why you got that Robot and Allspice moments 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is good that, as you heal, you find space for yourself. There are those that can’t move on from a loved one because feeling joy after they have passed is viewed as an insult. I honestly don’t think she would want you to grieve her loss continuously. That would be a loss of two lives.

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  3. The allspice v Old Spice mixup made me actually laugh … an audible laugh! Only the second one this week! Grácias! I think you are finding balance, my friend. I’m encouraged to hear you say that you realize you can still have fun. Sure, you will always miss her, but … yes, you are allowed to have fun, you are allowed to breathe, and you are allowed to make mistakes sometimes, but still have fun. Huge Hugs!

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      1. You sure you wouldn’t rather have the whiskey? I remember about 3:00 a.m. when it was obvious that Trump was going to be the next president. I went for the wine bottle, but all we had was one lonely can of beer. I gulped that in about 2 minutes and went to bed and cried myself to sleep. I will be sure to have a stash next November. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh God, dinnae get me started on where to find things these days in shops… But you know…. maybe it’s been arranged so people going through what you are have to get that brain in gear. Seriously read the Aterix book. Every little helps towards a new place and memory.


  5. When my first husband died, I used to panic in case I ever stopped missing him. As the years went by, I would try to ‘see’ his image in my mind but it was always out of focus … except for in dreams where he appears crystal clear. I welcome those dreams – they’re a gift.
    I think you’re doing amazingly well … and thanks for the idea with the toy robot. Will try that soon. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A poignant post Gary, I ached for you turning and seeing no smiling face in which to share that table and coffee.
    Our neighbour is going through this, another ‘first’ alone without her partner of 30 plus years since he passed away in May. It was his birthday yesterday, and also her son’s birthday (first marriage). He is coming over with the family from Australia this year, so she will not be alone on Christmas Day. We are here for her, and she knows that she only has to knock on the door, but we respect her privacy too and know there are times when she’ll just want to be alone with her thoughts.
    The schools will be breaking up shortly. Is your son getting excited? I have happy memories of Christmas both as a child and ‘parent’ to foster kids. On a few occasions I was more excited than they were.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christmas always does this, always. It hurts, and yet, there are wonderful moments, too. And for the record, I’m the one who’s to keep track of all the gifts and stuff, and it’s still insane, so don’t worry–on that, none of us are ever really sorted out. Hugs, Friend, Hugs xxxxxxxx

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