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Offline Bertwhistle  
#21 Posted : 20 December 2018 18:50:56(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NickR Go to Quoted Post

"I love Christmas" is what I say... only I don't.

I find it intensely sad and depressing. Of course, I enjoy moments and the day is great in many ways.. but, as well as the final few days at work being very lonely every year, I find the weight of the past and the overbearing awareness of the passing of time too much to bear. Christmas reminds me of my childhood. We have always had a very particular kind of Christmas day, with set family traditions that have been passed down. That makes it worse. We continue them, but all that does is, as I say, bring home the cycle of time, the fall into loss, the fact that my childhood has long gone, my relatives have passed away, or, in the case of cousins with whom we'd spend the day, have drifted away, as happens. The nostalgia, wistfulness, and sense, looking at my kids, that this brief period of childhood Christmasses will soon be the past and a memory for them as well... are just utterly overwhelming. Every year.

This is, I agree, a lovely prose. I share and have come to terms with the sadness that grief brings, as have many respected posters replying to your post. I now feel the things you have articulated so clearly on and off through the year; but increasingly, though the emotions seem more intense, I find a sort of dichotomous, resigned joy in the knowledge that this goes on, and on, generation after generation and it's very, very, meant-to-be.

My beautiful babies are less needy of me, my lonely Dad looks up to no generation ahead and I feel the years and friends slip away into the memory bank. How lucky that I can do this in warmth and comfort, and still feel childish enthusiasms about some things. Sounds twee, but to have that joy of remembering and even regret, is far beyond some of our brothers and sisters who find each day just another to hopefully get to the end of.

Chin up Nick. I'll keep both of mine up!

Bertie, Itchen Valley.

Remember Finlake!

Online Devonian  
#22 Posted : 20 December 2018 19:34:52(UTC)
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Some great, thoughtful posts. And not just from Nick and others I am usually at one with, but (which is nice) from those I am normally in very great, deep and bitter disagreement with.

 

"In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way"

Nigel Farage, Daily Mirror, 16/5/2016

"I think the mistake the government made - led by Theresa May - from the start was to try and claim that a country that had voted 17 million to leave the EU, 16 million to stay, wanted a 100% Brexit"

Osborne, 22/12/18.

Offline David M Porter  
#23 Posted : 20 December 2018 20:25:21(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Caz Go to Quoted Post

Some very powerful and heartfelt posts and I fully understand all of you. But I agree with Saint about closing the door against thoughts that hurt and I’m thankful that I’m able to do exactly that!  I’m also careful that I don’t get into a situation where that door might open and I do that by changing the way I do things. 

My eldest son died in January 2016, so this year will be my third Christmas without him.  He always spent Christmas with us (43 of them) and so as not to have an empty chair at dinner that first Christmas, we invited all my family and had 16 around the table on Christmas Day.  Our house was filled with love, the people I’m closest to and care for the most and I realised that those who are still with me are what matters now and that I should be grateful for having them.

It actually made it the best Christmas I could have imagined. Everyone enjoyed it so much we decided we should do the same the following year.  But that first big Christmas, was to be our last Christmas with my mum, as she died the following summer.  I was so glad she’d had all her family around her and it made it even more important that the family spend time with each other.  

So, this will be our third big family Christmas dinner at our house and we’ll remember those we’ve lost but our memories will only be happy ones, because we’re a happy family, grateful to have each other.  It’s those who are living who are important and time is better spent being thankful for what we have, than being sad over what we no longer have. 

It’s really a state of mind.  I really feel for anyone who can’t adjust and consider myself to be very lucky that I can.  It also helps me to think that there are many people in this world who are far, far worse off than I am and have suffered greater tragedies.  

Merry Christmas all!  

Great post, Caz and Merry Xmas to yourself and everyone here.

I can remember you describing your own family's situation and what you have done over the past couple of Christmases in the thread we had on our much missed fellow TWO member Dougie last year, just after Dougie had sadly passed away. If I lived in a large enough house I would do exactly as you do and invite all of my nearest and dearest round to my house on Xmas Day for dinner, but unfortunately space constraints have been an issue.

I had an unmarried uncle (my mum's brother) who died in 2001 aged only 65 having been in poor health for several years previously. He used to live with my gran in a village about 15 minutes' drive away from my own house and my gran passed on back in 1983 which left him living on his own for the rest of his life. After my gran died, we brought him over to my house for dinner every Xmas Day from 1983 up to including 1999 for his Christmas dinner, and he always enjoyed this and our company enormously. Sadly, by Xmas 2000, his health had deteriorated to the point where he was no longer able to come here, and so on that Christmas Day my family and day cooked his Xmas dinner, covered it with some foil and then took it over to his house in our car. I could tell by that time that his health was worsening, as he didn't eat a great deal of it and all the previous years when he came to our house, he had enjoyed his dinner enormously. He died just a couple of months later, in February 2001 and only six days after his 65th birthday.

Wherever my uncle is now, plus all my other relatives whom I once knew and are no longer with us, I'm sure they are all having a great time!

 

"Sometimes what we accept as the truth may not be the full story".

Hercule Poirot (David Suchet)

Offline Northern Sky  
#24 Posted : 20 December 2018 20:34:26(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NickR Go to Quoted Post

"I love Christmas" is what I say... only I don't.

I find it intensely sad and depressing. Of course, I enjoy moments and the day is great in many ways.. but, as well as the final few days at work being very lonely every year, I find the weight of the past and the overbearing awareness of the passing of time too much to bear. Christmas reminds me of my childhood. We have always had a very particular kind of Christmas day, with set family traditions that have been passed down. That makes it worse. We continue them, but all that does is, as I say, bring home the cycle of time, the fall into loss, the fact that my childhood has long gone, my relatives have passed away, or, in the case of cousins with whom we'd spend the day, have drifted away, as happens. The nostalgia, wistfulness, and sense, looking at my kids, that this brief period of childhood Christmasses will soon be the past and a memory for them as well... are just utterly overwhelming. Every year.

I think you have talked about this before Nick? I don't know your age but it's also something I too increasingly feel as I approach 50. For me there is a bittersweet recollection of memories with lots of joy and love for people who have gone but also sadness at their absence and the passage of time. Sometimes I think about the past and in particular the places and people in my memories from childhood. It's a kind of overwhelming nostalgia and it almost feels like you can touch it sometimes.

 

 

Offline NickR  
#25 Posted : 20 December 2018 22:10:48(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Saint Snow Go to Quoted Post

 

 

Very much so.

I have a group of friends with whom I grew up. We still very much keep in touch, although there've been times where, for one reason or another, one or more has drifted away a little, but we always meet up at least two or three times a year as well as seeing each other individually more often (I play racquetball with one). One of the more reliable meet-ups is between Xmas and NY and we went through a phase of agreeing to book a big house in Scotland or Northumbria or even North Wales for the following New Year, split the cost, and meet up there with our wives & kids. The kids could all get to know each other better (they've all met each other at varying points) and we could all have a scream.

And we never actually got round to doing it.

It got brought up last year but was a bit awkward. One is going through a bitter divorce; another's wife has a chronic & degenerative brain disease and struggles now with mobility; one has a son who is now 19, whilst the rest of us have kids between 8 and 15.

So the opportunity, which you think will be there for ages, has well and truly passed. And it'll never happen.

 

I know that feeling so well, and in relation to many things.

A few uni mates and I did manage to organise something similar once at a house in Yorkshire. It was wonderful t see the kids get to know each other. Unfortunately my best mate form uni and his kids couldn't make it. Our children will never get to know each other now. Repeats of the meet are unlikely too. We all just live too far apart - Canada, US, Scotland, and various corners of England. Most of them are lecturers (!), which means we tend to be spread wide.

Offline Joe Bloggs  
#26 Posted : 20 December 2018 23:12:25(UTC)
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Some really heartfelt posts in here. 

I’m a firm believer that our mental health is really really tested over Christmas, I find myself feeling much more anxious, tired and irritable - so much pressure to be “on form” and sociable. 

Pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can be a load worse at this time of year for the same reason.

Weirdly, unlike most, I actually quite like early January when it’s all done and dusted and I can look forward to things later in the year, and try and get healthy again. 

Withington, South Manchester, 38m ASL

Offline Retron  
#27 Posted : 21 December 2018 03:42:54(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NickR Go to Quoted Post

, looking at my kids, t

Do it for them. What you do now will be their memories when you're long gone.

It's true that Christmas will never be the same as you get older and - even though I'm still under 40 - I've lost all my parents and grandparents. I have no close family and I live on my own (as an only child, I'm used to my own company). However, I'm at the stage where I can look back wistfully rather than painfully and be glad I had all those good times in the past. I know I'll never have a family Christmas again, but I don't find that depressing - it just means that future Christmases will be different.

The first Christmas without close family was always going to suck, so I went abroad with a friend instead (he and I had arranged this some years back, although neither of us expected it to happen so soon)! Even in Japan, though,  you can't escape "Ku-ri-su-ma-su", as they call it! Last year was the low point for me, the first Christmas at home alone.

As you can't live in the past, you have to change the future. This Christmas Day a couple of my friends will be coming round and we'll be playing games on a big screen for an hour or so - a little bit of fun. As mentioned in another thread, the Ashford Snowdogs have restored my festive feelings this year and for the first time since 2015 I've put up the decorations and so forth. Yes, I know I'll never go to the January sales with my mum and dad, looking out for cheap PC games; I know I'll never force myself to stay up until midnight on New Years' Eve, playing old favourite games and eating all sorts of snacks to try and stay awake, I know I'll never see dozens of cards on the mantlepiece and piles of presents under the tree. But, the key thing is, I did once... and I'll never forget. In the meantime, there are new traditions to be forged, such as playing games on Christmas morning with my friends.

Life doesn't stand still, you see, it's always changing. You have to make the most of what opportunities you have, for you never know what's round the corner!

 

 

Offline Caz  
#28 Posted : 21 December 2018 04:06:21(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Northern Sky Go to Quoted Post

I think you have talked about this before Nick? I don't know your age but it's also something I too increasingly feel as I approach 50. For me there is a bittersweet recollection of memories with lots of joy and love for people who have gone but also sadness at their absence and the passage of time. Sometimes I think about the past and in particular the places and people in my memories from childhood. It's a kind of overwhelming nostalgia and it almost feels like you can touch it sometimes.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there!  Age makes a difference to the way we view life and I remember my forties as a time of bitter sweet reflection.  A time of taking stock, re-evaluating and wondering where I should go next, or even if I had any control over my future. My children were growing up and becoming more independent and I had a strange feeling of loneliness and redundancy.  Perhaps this is what we refer to as the mid life crisis and for some it’s much worse than others.

I’m in my sixties now and all I see are sweet memories without the bitterness.  I’ve had bad times and I’ve made mistakes but I have no regrets as my experiences have made me strong and I’ve learnt from life.  I’m older, wiser and happy that I’ve loved and lost, rather than never having loved at all.  I don’t know how many more Christmases I have left, or how many years, months or days I have, but I know I’ll make the most of what I do have.  

Market Warsop, North Nottinghamshire.

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Offline Chunky Pea  
#29 Posted : 21 December 2018 07:41:33(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Joe Bloggs Go to Quoted Post

I’m a firm believer that our mental health is really really tested over Christmas, I find myself feeling much more anxious, tired and irritable - so much pressure to be “on form” and sociable. 

This!

 

"There are nights when the wolves fall silent and only the moon howls"

--George Carlin.

Offline DEW  
#30 Posted : 21 December 2018 08:07:55(UTC)
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This will be the first Christmas Day since we got married, some 54 years ago, that we will not have some of the family with us or we with them.

I don't think it'll make so much difference as we will have accumulated five days with one member of the family or more in the week before or after Christmas itself. For instance, our daughter will be down for a trad Christmas meal on Boxing Day. It'll be odd, though, to be just us when 90%(?) of the country is with family, and all the social and entertainment activities of the country at large are set up to match the family model.

The real sadness, however, is going to be that because of the progress of Alzheimers this will be the first Christmas that my wife has no idea what all the fuss is about. That I do find really depressing. She managed to whisper, not really sing, along with the words of Christmas carols at the local 'nine lessons and carols' last night, but she doesn't remember doing so this morning.

It was most foule weather ... and so we went into an alehouse - Samuel Pepys
Offline Saint Snow  
#31 Posted : 21 December 2018 09:32:30(UTC)
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Some really touching posts on here throughout the thread and I've been a little emotional more than once or twice.

Whatever your circumstances and however you spend Xmas, I hope you find some happiness and peace. You are all good people and I wish you the very best of Xmas love.

 

 

Trump on Jeffrey Epstein:

"I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Martin

Home: St Helens (26m asl) Work: Manchester (75m asl)

A TWO addict since 14/12/01

Offline NickR  
#32 Posted : 21 December 2018 09:39:54(UTC)
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Can I say thank you for all the wonderful posts in here - Caz, Bert, NS, and others... I'd like to reply to you all individually but am struggling a bit right now with a few things, including tiredness after lack of sleep the last few nights. I've found it good to have this thread as a space apart from the usual Christmas festivities and merry-making. I'm sure I'll add to it in the coming days. But this is probably the most useful and helpful thread I have been involved in for a very long time. So, again: thank you all.
Offline The Beast from the East  
#33 Posted : 21 December 2018 11:39:02(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NickR Go to Quoted Post

"I love Christmas" is what I say... only I don't.

I find it intensely sad and depressing. Of course, I enjoy moments and the day is great in many ways.. but, as well as the final few days at work being very lonely every year, I find the weight of the past and the overbearing awareness of the passing of time too much to bear. Christmas reminds me of my childhood. We have always had a very particular kind of Christmas day, with set family traditions that have been passed down. That makes it worse. We continue them, but all that does is, as I say, bring home the cycle of time, the fall into loss, the fact that my childhood has long gone, my relatives have passed away, or, in the case of cousins with whom we'd spend the day, have drifted away, as happens. The nostalgia, wistfulness, and sense, looking at my kids, that this brief period of childhood Christmasses will soon be the past and a memory for them as well... are just utterly overwhelming. Every year.

You and I are a similar age I think, and I share your feelings . However, you are lucky to have your own family and kids. That is something I missed out on and now of course the loneliness and isolation hits you at this time of year, even though I am used to being on my own, the memories of people I have lost floods back at this time of year, no matter how much I try to "normalise" Christmas - i.e. continue my same routine that I do all year. But it doesn't really work. I'm relieved when Boxing day comes. 

The irony of wanting the period to go quickly compared to my childhood when I wanted time to stand still on Xmas day!

 

"We have some alternative facts for you"

Kelly-Ann Conway - special adviser to the President

Offline The Beast from the East  
#34 Posted : 21 December 2018 11:56:57(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Retron Go to Quoted Post

 

Do it for them. What you do now will be their memories when you're long gone.

It's true that Christmas will never be the same as you get older and - even though I'm still under 40 - I've lost all my parents and grandparents. I have no close family and I live on my own (as an only child, I'm used to my own company). However, I'm at the stage where I can look back wistfully rather than painfully and be glad I had all those good times in the past. I know I'll never have a family Christmas again, but I don't find that depressing - it just means that future Christmases will be different.

 

Yes, I know I'll never go to the January sales with my mum and dad, looking out for cheap PC games; I know I'll never force myself to stay up until midnight on New Years' Eve, playing old favourite games and eating all sorts of snacks to try and stay awake, I know I'll never see dozens of cards on the mantlepiece and piles of presents under the tree. But, the key thing is, I did once... and I'll never forget. 

Life doesn't stand still, you see, it's always changing. You have to make the most of what opportunities you have, for you never know what's round the corner!

 

 

I wish I could share your positivity but I only feel sadness when I look back.

My favourite memory was the annual trip to London to see the Lights and go toy shopping in Hamleys. As I got older, I became obsessed with computer games, so we got them from Selfridges but I still enjoyed looking around Hamleys, HMV etc

And we had salt beef sandwiches at Selfridges which was a special treat (even though I don't eat meat anymore!)

Like you I don't have kids. It doesn't matter now, but when we get old it might as who is going to help us when we become doddery and useless! But I plan to kill myself before I get to that stage

"We have some alternative facts for you"

Kelly-Ann Conway - special adviser to the President

Offline Caz  
#35 Posted : 21 December 2018 12:31:30(UTC)
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Nick, you don’t have to answer individual posts but do keep posting if it helps. I always say talking helps but sadly it’s not something we’re good at, especially when it comes to expressing our feelings and we really should try harder at it!  I’m sure this thread will be a great comfort to others as well as yourself because there are a lot of people who sense the loneliness and melancholy as is evident from other posters.  

With regard to doing things with your children.  Just do them!  Don’t wait for the right time because there never is one in the future. The only right time, is right now!  Don’t regret the things you didn’t do, because you were obviously doing something else, so that time wasn’t wasted.   We can all look back and think ‘why didn’t I do that?’  The answer is always, ‘because it wasn’t appropriate, or the circumstances weren’t right’. 

Instead of looking back or worrying about tomorrow, live for today and face tomorrow head on.  We can’t change the past and we can’t prepare for things to come when we have no idea what they’ll be, but we can do things today that make us smile.  If you end the day with a happy thought, you’re more likely to wake up with one tomorrow. 

One thing I learnt from losing my son was that my sadness was heartbreaking for those who love me.  They were hurting because I was hurting and they thought there was nothing they could do to help me. But they were wrong.  They got me through because my desire for my loved ones to stop hurting was greater than my sadness.  Your family are the ones who hurt the most by seeing you sad and they matter the most. 

I know that these are only words, heard before no doubt, but I know from experience that they’re true!  We may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s there!  

Market Warsop, North Nottinghamshire.

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Offline idj20  
#36 Posted : 21 December 2018 12:32:14(UTC)
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As someone who struggle with agoraphobia and looking after an elderly mother but mercifully I don't experience depression, I've been shying away from Christmas & NYE more and more with each passing year  . . . actually, from most social situations throughout the year come to think of it!  However, I've always been a "humbug" type of person from the start so it's become "second nature" for me anyway. I simply don't have the energy or nerves to handle the present buying, food shopping, etc, in a packed out town centre, even the thought of it sends a shiver down my doobries. I'm quite comfortable enough financial-wise where I don't really want for much, so I can actually enjoy it in my own quiet diminutive manner and be thankful that I have a warm dry home with a full food cupboard and surrounded with my own things and be debt-free (oh, and a decent internet connection is a must have in my house) and I get on well with my sister who lives only around the corner.
  Having said that, I do have some fond memories of Christmas past when my parents were still together and most of my relatives were still alive (my mum is part of 7 siblings, 4 of them are now dead) and talking to each other where we used to take turns in hosting the Christmas dinner and the fun games afterwards, but that's all in the past and is something I cannot change.

Edited by user 22 December 2018 00:42:10(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Offline NMA  
#37 Posted : 21 December 2018 13:31:39(UTC)
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Nick I know you called the thread 'Christmas depression' but for me it has been one of the most upbeat, inspiring and unexpected threads on TWO this year.

Thank you.

Offline bradders  
#38 Posted : 21 December 2018 13:57:27(UTC)
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At the age of 77, with blood cancer and heart failure, I`m just glad I can still enjoy the Christmas season, although for how much longer is anyone`s guess. 

Being surrounded by our family for Christmas dinner, 2 sons and their wives and 3 children means the emergency chairs will be in use, but that makes life worth living. Being with family at Christmas is what makes it such a special day.

So, I would say, count your blessings!

 

Eric. Cheadle Hulme, Stockport.

Offline Caz  
#39 Posted : 21 December 2018 13:59:35(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NMA Go to Quoted Post

Nick I know you called the thread 'Christmas depression' but for me it has been one of the most upbeat, inspiring and unexpected threads on TWO this year.

Thank you.

Yes!  

Inspiring indeed!  It makes us think doesn’t it?  

While we’re wrapped up in our own thoughts and racing around preparing for a day we’ll all be too knackered to fully enjoy, we should remember that those of us who are able to enjoy it to any degree, are the lucky ones!  

Market Warsop, North Nottinghamshire.

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Online Brian Gaze  
#40 Posted : 21 December 2018 14:06:40(UTC)
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Fine thread indeed. I look forward to Christmas and over the years have experienced it in different ways. Obviously as a kid with my parents and then as a student I would still go back and stay with them. Later it was my wife and daughter and generally we would visit our parents before and spend the "big day" on our own. When my daughter flew the nest we started inviting friends round for drinks and dinner. Last year the Mrs and I spent it on our own. This year daughter and hubby are coming round for dinner.

My personal advice:

1) Avoid routine. It may be passing down traditions but it also has the potential to pass down and foster resentment. 

2) Be careful with the friends thing. We stopped it fairly quickly because a couple we invited had been arguing just before arriving and were in a vile mood. It ruined it for everyone! The best times with friends are during the year and not big preplanned "set piece" dinners etc.

3) If you don't enjoy Christmas that's a shame, but IMO you're not missing out on the best day of the year. Far from it! There are many better ones which occur unexpectedly through the course of an average year.

Edited by user 21 December 2018 14:09:03(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Brian Gaze

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