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The tree came down today. It always feels quite cathartic, clearing away the clutter, piling up the presents and hoovering away the pine needles.

I've been determined to be "in the moment" over the festive period. Sometimes almost to the point of mania. My firm intention has been that all us would have a good Christmas with plenty of fun and laughter. I don't want the kids to look back on Christmas time after Lauren died and see only sadness. After all, what would Lauren do?

There has been time for memories, but I haven't allowed myself to dwell on them, to allow them to spiral to a darker, sadder place. In fact the only time that the abyss opened up, slightly, was earlier on when we were taking the tree down. We have been gifted many lovely baubles and angels for the tree, but it was a bauble that Lauren made, in 2010, that caused me to falter, momentarily. Glossing over pain & emotion is not a long term plan, but sometimes it is necessary.

I think we managed to "get Christmas done." We should have been skiing in the French Alps, a holiday planned specifically to keep us busy over the festive period. Instead we began new traditions. Stockings were opened in Lauren's room, including her stocking that contained her secret santa and some personalised Lego. (Which she would have loved), we saw family for Christmas Dinner, which was delightful for its novelty value, and the time has been filled with board games, VR headsets and general family frivolities.

Alcohol, just enough to numb too many thoughts, was ever present. Now as the great liver detox begins, and the Tier 4 restrictions have reduced the rest of life to very minimal activity, my thoughts begin to roam again, The urge to write, to allow myself to be immersed by my feelings alone, has returned. It is something I can do, my version of mindfulness.

Everything we do forever more will always be under the shadow of grief. I just want there to be times when those shadows are shorter.

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