Fallen Angels and other catastrophes


Image credit: Gaston Roulstone

Christmas is always going to be a little tricky for us. My Dad died just before Christmas three years ago and has left a very big 6”3 inch hole in our lives. That’s not the only tragedy that is linked to this day for us, BUT I come from a long line of Christmas junkies, and although our family over here is small, we have always fiercely celebrated Christmas with a kind of tenacious determination. A ‘We can do this, and it will be FUN it if it kills us’ kind of attitude. Sunday would have been my parents wedding anniversary, and momentous occasions like that can become heavy, and I have found the best thing to do is to acknowledge that it is painful, but at the same time try and do something positive and fun. New memories that don’t push out the old ones but can sit beside them on the shelf to balance things out a bit. I planned a day where my Mother would come, and we would do all things Christmas: Christmas carols on Spotify while we put the tree up (finally), Christmas cookie decorating, make a gingerbread house, and finish up by taking Mum and the kids to Fossil Point Café in Dads 1949 Cadillac. Then he is kind of with us in a way. Seems like a good plan, right? Here’s the thing about life though. It likes to take your plans and raise you a bucket load of unexpected speed bumps. Because…that’s what life does. So, in a nutshell, the stand on the artificial tree (which is stylish and black, but perhaps that was the problem?) broke (enter duct tape), the Christmas Angel had too much eggnog at the office party and keep falling off the top of the tree (like a million times.) Then the whole tree just FELL OVER. Enter string. (Tie that b@#$%!@ to the window, you will NOT beat me.) Then, oh, the ginger bread house. Oh, my goodness. We could not get the walls to stay on. The roof kept slipping off. No matter how much icing. Maybe the 27ºc day didn’t help? Everyone knows I am not a domestic goddess, but this is meant for children. How hard can it be? By the time we finished it looked like a very bad EQC rebuild. We gave up. It lays in sticky icing laden pieces. The children ate the lollies. Then there’s the Cadillac. We made it the café fine. Win win! Then she had some kind of weird tantrum and just died on the side of the road.Sigh.

At this point, we have a choice. We can throw our toys fully out of the cot, lose all our sense of humour and just give up. Or we can re-frame and try and see things from a better angle. So here goes:

  • Everyone falls down occasionally, even Angels, so let’s not judge her too harshly. She got there in the end.

  • No ornaments, children or Grandmothers were harmed during the tree collapse.

  • Gingerbread houses still taste good even in pieces.

  • The Cadillacs tantrum was only temporary (and at 70 she is entitled to the odd hissy fit), and I have a wonderful husband who came to the rescue, and the best mechanic and friend on speed dial to talk me through it. (Thanks Brian!).

Later, as I danced around the living room to Snoopys Christmas with my eight year old son, I thought, this is life in all its unpredictable chaos and mess. I would rather have it in all its raw, real, brutal beauty and feel all of it than have a perfect, uneventful life that even I won’t remember. This time of the year, we need to focus on the good, in people and in life. Bring your loved ones close. Include don’t exclude. Take in the strays, the lonely and the isolated. Look after your people, all of them, especially the strong ones. Merry Christmas my friends.

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© 2016 Claire Inkson. All photographs copyright Claire Inkson

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