A time to reflect

Christmas is a time to reflect and share moments with family,

As we steamroll towards Christmas Day, with it now only four nights of sleep away, the realisation of the speed at which it has approached is significant.

Distracted by momentous events, the time of year which usually brings such joy feels quite heavy and, at times, sad.

Only at times, of course, because those other moments are filled with gratitude and thanks for my life and the family and friends who surround me.

My heart is heavy four days out from Christmas on the back of such tragic and consistent news barraging the month.

Deeply impacted by a workplace fatality, the uneasy entry into December began.

My thoughts wander to a place where I put myself in another family’s shoes, and I feel so deeply the impact that I can only imagine is consuming their world.

While I recognise the logic behind the necessity to keep putting one foot in front of the other, the sudden jolt and shock triggered were noteworthy because the relatability was and is so very real.

No one expects to go to work and then not come home.

Only just starting to move past the consuming thoughts after eight days of reflection and the tragic news of the loss of civilians and Police Officers rocked my world with utter shock and disbelief at the events which had occurred. Unable to believe what I was hearing and seeing with that gut-wrenching sadness returning.

The tragic loss of life in such a vicious scenario.

“Right before Christmas too” are words I hear repeated, and while I know, they’re said with understanding, respect and compassion, to me, the time of year is irrelevant. The loss of life is always upsetting; however, it is noticed more at the time of year when we come together more frequently.

Sitting at the dinner table and attempting to explain what had occurred prompted questions from my children about guns, laws and history. In a child-appropriate explanation, we unpacked the unpleasant people who walk amongst us and, in particular, visited the past of the Port Arthur Massacre, which prompted Australia’s strict gun laws.

Knowing what I know now about politics, tactics, strategy, and all-around games played, it’s obvious now how risky and meaningful of a move it was for then Prime Minister, John Howard, to initiate the change to protect our country.

As often is the case, learning opportunities for children come unexpectedly at times and sharing some of Australia’s gruesome history just happened to be at a time usually reserved for happiness and joy – mid-December, shared, of course, with age appropriateness in mind but recognising the importance of sharing history nevertheless.

With news of zoo animals passing away and pets of family and friends reaching the end of their journey in this world in tragic circumstances, the heaviness continues.

In another blow, our region lost a person who shared her health journey with such transparency. Not a woman I knew well but one I appreciated a connection with.

A woman who loved Christmas and had even written her goodbye for when the time came, releasing one day after her passing. My heart breaks for her family, and I feel a deep sadness for their loss while recognising her relief from pain and illness.

Christmas is supposed to be a wonderful time of the year for those who celebrate it. But when you lose a person you love, it brings a sombre tone to the occasion.

Christmas is hard when someone is missing, and it takes time to figure out what the new normal should look and feel like when there is a void.

While the season does emphasise the absence of those we love, it’s also an opportunity to be grateful for those in our life who we’re lucky to spend time with and who are still with us.

While most of us don’t like to focus on the fact that none of us are getting out of here alive, it really is this moment when we need to ground ourselves and connect. To fill our cups and to be with those who make us happy. Those who see the worst of us and the absolute best of us and everything in between.

To remind ourselves that life is so short.

To recognise that we can learn from those who’ve walked before us around the Christmas table where stories are shared.

To remember to take a moment to reflect.

This Christmas, I’m hoping for lots of belly laughs, happy children, content parents and family members, and a day filled with beautiful food produced or sourced by local small businesses for us all to enjoy for days.

It’s these moments where memories are made, and the memories and stories are what keep our loved ones alive today, even if they’re no longer with us.

May you find comfort and peace in your memories and that you have the opportunity to hug your loved ones a little tighter this year.

“And where there are shadows, there is light” – JW Horton.