A Christmas engagement: Bath, December 7th, 2008
I've spent the day receiving gifts and realised this evening that I have gifts I've neglected of late.
As you know, I've promised never to force a blog entry. However I also know that in the past 7 weeks of silence there have been many entries that I could have written and haven't.
I have given in to the silence and I have let it win. I have let it eat a bit more of my confidence and waited; waited for the perfect moment. I have also let those moments come and then procrastinated till I'm too exhausted to write a word.
The more the silence has gone on, the more fearful I've been of sitting at the keyboard and writing again. It hasn't been writer's block from a lack of inspiration - Ems, grief, self-analysis, day to day struggles and victories, have all been in the foreground as ever. I've just lost the confidence in conveying it and so I've left this gift neglected.
Today, I know, this is one gift I have to start using again. I can't neglect it. I can't give in to this fear. I cannot let the silence win.
In the silence has been a battle.
The silence has been a stark reflection of this very same time last year when silence fell and the world stopped.
Many days that I wanted to mark, that I wanted to write about; the silence won.
Since the last time I wrote we've passed the first anniversary of beautiful Ems departure for Heaven. We've passed the anniversary of his funeral, incidentally the same day as the anniversary of our engagement just a year earlier. I've spent quality time with his best friends; I've known heightened emotions as well as near total numbness. There has been so much to write about.
And yet I have been scared. I've been too scared to write. I've been looking for the perfect post to start me back out.
And yet, as I reflect on a Christmas day, void of my wonderful other half, yet surrounded by the most amazing and loving family, touched and encouraged by the thoughtful messages and gifts from friends, showered with the realisation anew that God came to earth to make a way for me to find hope in otherwise impossible situations. As I reflect on this day, I know that the things we once thought of as perfection - the trimmings we once thought made it Christmas; the decoration we thought made it home. None of these things count for anything without the main thing in place, without the faith to hold it together, without our loved ones around. They are just trimmings. And in the same way, life isn't always the earth shattering moments, the depths of emotion or the big events. This blog isn't about perfect posts.
I could give you a run down of the widow's Christmas day but that's not my reason for writing tonight. As the snow covers the earth outside and the temperature plummets, I'm writing to break the ice that's been growing inside, to break the growing fear in me of sitting down and writing, hoping and praying that now I've sat down and written, that there'll be many more entries on the way, accompanied by the confidence and determination to go with them.
[Memory #24 the 'gift wrapping' episode
Poor Ems took the gutsy step of asking me out one excitable lunch time (read more about that in an article I wrote for The Tip) only for me to say yes (enthusiastically) yet then tell him that as it was my only free night before Christmas I had loads of things I had to get done that night and so couldn't see him. It took me the 5 minutes drive back to the office to realise I was being an idiot and was absolutely desperate to see him again already so I invited him to come to my parents after work and help me wrap gifts, etc.
Months later I remember asking Ems what his favourite evening we'd had together was and he said it'd take a lot to top that first night. We'd just sat on the floor, wrapping gifts, him passing me bits of sellotape and setting up a playlist on my ipod, while we talked about absolutely everything. We'd been good friends for months and talked about so many things but had never spoken about relationships or what either of us expected in one. That night we spoke about everything - past experience, present desires, future goals. When I look back it was crazy how much ground we covered in that first night but it was all incredibly natural as we spoke together, and we set an amazing foundation of security and friendship that deepened with each new day. We were in love right there as we tackled Christmas preparations and that love grew at great pace from there on. I will always think of Ems as I wrap gifts and remember that night, which, like he said would have taken a lot to top. He later told me that he'd cried when he got home that night because he was so happy. Just like me, he hadn't realised that the feelings we were newly experiencing were possible. I still feel that way. Love like that never dies and I still love him with every bit of my heart, a million times more so than that first night, so grateful that he'll always be mine.]