Saturday 3 December 2011

On the ninth day of Christmas, the ED gave to me...

... "Nine Lessons and Carols"...

Three o'clock every Christmas Eve afternoon I have an appointment with BBC Radio 4 in our dining room. It's the world-famous 'Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols' live from Kings College Chapel, Cambridge. At 3pm precisely, the commentator announces that a chorister will step forward and lead the choir up the chancel singing the first verse of Once in Royal David's City.

Every single Christmas Eve, I take myself off into our festive dining room, table set ready for Christmas dinner the next day, switch on the fairy lights and listen to this broadcast. Just like my mum and grandma before me.

At 3pm on Christmas Eve 2009, however, I was blubbering my eyes out into a box of tissues as the ED raged through the house screaming and shouting about something that had set it off.

As ED continued to rant and rage, and Ben's dad tried to calm him, I just sobbed and sobbed, thinking of us - yet also thinking of all those other families who, for whatever reason, were missing their child that Christmas.

Suddenly I felt part of this terrible crowd of mothers and fathers whose only Christmas wish was to have their 'little boy' or 'little girl' back.

And at least my 'little boy' was here in our house with us - and hopefully we'd get him back properly one day.

Unlike the other mum who I came across shortly after Christmas 2010 whose daughter went into hospital with severe anorexia and who didn't come back.

So ED might have spoiled my Christmas Eve traditions, but at least I had a lot to be thankful for.

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