There I was, happily writing a Christmas Story (with a difference I thought) when the phone rang. I had earlier sent a message to a friend suggesting a movie later that afternoon. I assumed when she phoned she was phoning to discuss what we would see, where and when.
She sounded odd. Then I realised she was crying. A friend of hers, who I know a little, needed her. Her daughter had died in a motor accident the previous evening.
The sad details, one girl sufficiently unhurt to phone the injured girl’s mother. They were going to airlift her daughter to the best trauma hospital in the province as they suspected brain damage. As she scurried to get ready to drive the hour needed to get there, another call; this time the worst message any parent can receive. Her daughter had died on the scene, before they could take her to the hospital.
Today the close friends and family will gather. All distraught, as she was a lovely happy girl; confident enough in her appearance to play the clown sometimes. A treasure. Now never again to smile, hug her mum, tell her mother her plans, happiness’s and sadness’s.
Many of us have watched the family photos on Facebook.
The smiles, laughter.
Tears when a year and a half ago someone who had been like a father to her had died.
The enjoyment of her first ‘adult’ dance in her final school year.
Now we will no longer have glimpses into a happy young life. Her family will always only have the memories of someone lovely who never ages, but who also has no further life.
In turn I think of my aunt. Her mind wandering, no understanding of where she is and who are the people around her. Scared, angry often. Her death will be a blessed release.
Memories of my father’s death on the 11 December 1994 and how dreadful that Christmas had been. Christmas has been difficult ever since. The enjoyment of the great-grandchildren he never knew, contrasted with the remembrance of him and how he loved children, and would have so loved these two, always pulls at my heart.
I think I do not have a Christmas Story in me this year.