By Louise McOrmond Plummer
Since my beloved husband Ken’s death in 2016, Christmas has, for the most part, felt pretty ordinary. Being that we are now leading up to the 6th Christmas, one might suppose that I have become used to it, but the truth is, it still hurts, and at the risk of sounding like a Grinch, I never feel pressured to carry on with the deluge of happy horseshit that surrounds us at Christmas time and \for which many grieving or lonely people do not feel all that much enthusiasm
I do find, however, that it can be helpful to look at ways of incorporating Ken into Christmas.
This year, It has given me a grin to decorate some throw cushions I had custom made bearing Ken’s face,
And it gives me a chuckle to think of Ken in the next world typing a memoir titled “Sigh…the humiliations of life as a throw cushion..”
Throw cushion Ken even comes in outdoor fabric for the porch!
I’ve also had a customized place mat made to set a place for Ken at the table for Christmas dinner, and hey, if Princess Diana could be a tea towel and dinner plate, Ken Plummer can be a cushion!
And no, those who know me, know that I just couldn’t care less about opinions, I even managed to put a Santa hat on the urn containing Ken’s ashes.
If all this seems a bit tacky or morbid, these things are little hacks that help palliate the sadness a bit, and I’m allowed to have that.
Christmas for me always involves dressing Ken’s memorial tree at the cemetery with solar lights and red baubles (red was his favourite colour). It is quite touching to see the effort that goes into the decoration of graves, especially those of children at this time of year Our grandkids will, as usual leave little gifts on Ken’s grave, and I think it’s so beautiful the way kids seem to innately know how to continue bonds.
A few years ago, it was a truly healing project for me to go to the Lovebook online website and make books containing Ken anecdotes and pictures as Christmas gifts for our grandkids
My daughters and I will toast their Dad over lunch, and a bottle of Worcestershire sauce will be placed on the table as Ken ate that nasty shit with everything.
I have a crafty friend who makes Christmas ornaments with people’s names hand-painted on them, and naturally I have had Louise and Ken ones made to hang side by side.
Be it ever so unscientific of me, I have a firmly grounded belief in the survival of human consciousness, the “soul” if you like, beyond bodily death, and thus I believe that our loved ones can and will be with us in spirit form for what can be difficult dates. Now, not for a minute do I kid myself that these things are the same as having Ken physically here, and I would insult nobody’s intelligence by pretending otherwise but they do help get me through
How will you bring your loved one home for Christmas this year? Is there a way you could make it fun? Did they have a favourite food that you could cook and share with family? What about that cute anecdote you routinely trot out after couple of drinks?
Perhaps, like me, you are an unabashedly overgrown kid who can still engage with a bit of make- believe.
I recall the first Christmas after Ken died as being awash with tears in stores every time I saw cards that read,” to my husband at Christmas” It really was utter torture, and I say this without a trace of hyperbole, and it was then that I thought, “You know what? Fuck it, I’m going to buy the damn card and write a loving message to Ken in it anyhow!” I did, and doing so was a Hell of a lot better than crying hysterically in a corner because I thought I couldn’t buy him a card.
Whatever you do or do, if you do, I hope it helps you to be even a tiny bit more okay, you know best what you need to do or not: I know to avoid certain music that I know just drags my heart over broken glass, and I will get wobbly when Mariah Carey pours out of Shopping mall sound systems telling us that “All I want for Christmas is you” This song used to be quite upbeat, but now, it has taken on a much more forlorn meaning for me I’ll hug the person shopping with me
above all, be gentle with yourself
To all newly-bereaved and/or hurting people out there, I am thinking of you for the season
Season’s greetings, whatever that means to you
with love for the Holiday season from Mr and Mrs Kenneth D. Plummer
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