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First Christmas

My first Christmas without Sean and my first ever Christmas entirely alone.  Yet not alone.  None of us were up to organizing a gathering this year.  But Sara, Sean’s sister, called me this morning, in tears.  It is so, so hard on her as, ever since I sold my home in Burlington, she has hosted the family.  When I called John, Sean’s father, he was alone reading and had no plans for the rest of the day either.

Elsewhere, life goes on.  My brother Lyle and his wife, Heather, have his son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandson Callum all together.  And on Christmas Eve, my sister, Nadine, became a great-grandmother for a second time, as another of her granddaughters presented her with a great-grandson.  Happy birthday, Quinton James. So I shared all these good times via phone.

And, as usual, I shared the joy of midnight mass.  A poignant moment came when I was leading the prayers of the people.  One of the intercessions was “for those whom this Christmas brings memories of loss, disappointment and sadness”.  And I thought of Sean.

A quiet Christmas suits thoughts of Sean.  He was not boisterous.  Much of the time, he sat quietly in the corner, taking in the scene.  Then, suddenly, he would throw out a question or comment filled with wry humour, gently probing the ironies of life. His eyes would light up and he would smile.  And we felt blessed.  Indeed, as many told me after the memorial service, he was the kind of person who just by being who he was, made you want to be a better person yourself.  That, I think, is a gift that will stay with us all.

This is the first I have posted in quite a while.  Shortly after the last post, I took a tumble and broke a bone in my wrist.  Of course it was my right hand, my writing hand.  So I was in a cast for six weeks, and have been in physiotherapy ever since building up strength and flexibility enough to use a mouse and keyboard.  I hope to get back quickly into the routine of one post a week.

Second-Hand Heirloom

In this first formal portrait of Nadine, taken when she was five months old, she is  leaning against a blanket my father picked up second-hand.  But despite its humble entry into our family, it has become an heirloom.  It is  the blanket she was wrapped in on the day she was first brought home.  It is also the one mother wrapped me in two years earlier. Six years later, it wrapped our baby brother.

And a generation later, my sister used it for her three children.  Then it went to her daughter-in-law who used it for three of her children.  My sister has it back in her possession now, but has offered it to her granddaughter who is expecting in December.  That will make four generations of the family who came home for the first time wrapped in the same blanket!

Cheryl Lynn House, 7 months (Nadine’s daughter)

Melanie Faye House, 7 months
(Nadine’s granddaughter)

Nadine has been doing stalwart duty as my editor on this blog. Now she gets to shine as an author telling the stories she was told about herself.

The next two posts will be from her.

The box Brownie

In my last post I mentioned Mum’s trusty box Brownie camera.

According to Wikipedia, the Brownie was “a long-running popular series of simple and inexpensive cameras made by Eastman Kodak.”

The box Brownie

I don’t know the exact model Mum used, but  the photo above, from The Brownie Camera Page,  looks like the camera I remember.

Here is a picture of Mum in July 1955, holding our pet dog and the box Brownie camera.  She only stopped using it when she could no longer get film for it.