Tuesday, 13 December 2016
This time of year is especially difficult for me. My late mother's birthday is two days after Christmas and her holiday parties were legendary. She would spend most of December cooking and baking in preparation for having friends and neighbours over to celebrate. I would happily pitch in to help, whether it was polishing silverware or washing the good china.
Now I'm the one who hosts the parties for my friends, and I even make Mom's famous lemon trifle, but of course it's not the same. I can only hope that one day my daughter remembers my parties with the same fondness.
We all have lost so many people this year. From favourite celebrities like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Gordie Howe to more personal losses - my childhood doctor George Fortier and dentist Paul Guilbault both passed away this year. Several people I know have lost a parent, colleague, friend, or even a pet. I have in effect lost my father as well; while he is still alive, over the last year his dementia has progressed to the point where he no longer is able to take care of himself and must be looked after full time.
I grieve with them as well as for all those who are losing their loved ones to various calamities. It's hard to get into the holiday spirit when elsewhere there are people suffering, but if we allow ourselves to dwell too much it becomes overwhelming.
What we can do is look to this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
So I do little things here and there like baking holiday treats for the neighbours, helping shovel a car out of a snowbank, or offering a smile and encouraging word; anything that brings a bit of light into someone's day. Sometimes a little thing can make a big difference.