Memory makes up such an important part of our lives. We constantly draw on both the good and the bad to give us a reference points for the present. As the end of year approaches it's almost impossible not to find yourself recalling how much has happened in twelve months - marvelling at what seems like 'only yesterday' was actually months ago, and how much has changed...
This is my grandfather enjoying Christmas lunch on December 18, 2010. Always larger than life he's been threatening "this could be my last Christmas" for years. It was part of our tradition to laugh it off. He turned 98 in July, and it seemed like he'd go on forever. This man climbed the Himylayas in his 70s; sailed a boat to New Caledonia in his 80s; and fell off his roof at age 93 while vacuuming leaves out of the gutters. (In retrospect, not a good idea.)
Archie, December 2010
Archie was born on December 19 last year. The year since has been at times exhausting (he hardly slept for the first eight months!) but full of joy as we have watched with delight this little person grow and develop. He has been smothered with love by his older brother and sisters. Time will only tell if this over-stimulatory environment has a lasting effect on his personality and life! Happy memories...
Here is Grandpa in February cuddling Archie, his 18th great grandchild. I was thrilled to have four generations all together, with 30 years separating him (98) from my mother (68), then me (38) and my son Jesse (8). Grandpa loved babies. He cuddled Archie and said to me: "Look at him Sah, he's perfect. Isn't this the best thing you've ever done!?"
I had to agree.
In October this year, after a short illness, Grandpa died.
Christmas won't be the same without him. We loved him very much and miss him every day. I'm thankful for all the wonderful memories he gave us. One day I'll tell Archie about the fascinating character his Great Grandfather was.
I'm hoping that if you've got some sad memories from the past year that are weighing heavily on your mind, you'll have some good and even happy memories to think of too. They won't cancel out the pain, but they'll remind you of the beauty in life and relationships that lives on.