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Warning: Sad Story

Posted by Kaycee, 21 December 2006 · 103 views

Christmas for one reason or another is not always the most joyous time of the year as we expect and always hope for.
Sometimes for one reason or another, it can be the worst time of our lives.

I have had one of those awful Christmases, but I hate calling it awful, as there some wonderful and not so wonderful memories, but by calling Christmas 73 awful, would belittle the memory of my brother.

This is sad, but probably not as sad as it can get.
My brother was 19, I was 16 and this was 33 years ago. Time heals, yes, but memories thankfully, are always there and I will never forget.
David, had just gotten married and he had just welcomed his new son into the world a few weeks before. They were both young, his wife was 17.

It was the build up to Christmas, school was out and we had just moved from the country into the town, and I had just started my first job in a bank. It was the beginnings of a new start, as in everything had changed within the last couple of months.
I remember riding my bike, I remember thinking about my family, of three sisters and four brother. A big family. But I was out on my bike riding around the streets thinking things about Christmas and family. I don't know where the thought came from but I was thinking about my brothers and how I didn't really know them, as they were all older than me, three of them anyway. Somehow I got to thinking how sad it would be to loose someone at Christmas. Those memories haunt me, as I do wonder if subconscioulsy I knew something. That scares me, but I do wonder.

A couple of nights later, Friday the 21st, 1973 I had a friend around home and he left early, and I had for the first time in my 16 years that I could remember the most awful nights sleep. I tossed and turned, especially when I was trying to get to sleep. But I was not overly concerned, and left that in the back of my mind.

But next morning at about 10 o'clock people were out looking for David as he had not come home. Still no alarm bells for me as it was Christmas, he could be at a friends house. I never expected the worst. (I do now in those circumstances! I am a worry wart, usually for no good reason)

But then a couple of hours later, my father called us girls around, and shuffled us into a room, and probably had to tell us the hardest thing he had ever had to tell anyone before. They had found my brother and his motorbike off the side of the road. Dad said Mum did not know, so dad still had to go into another room and tell my mother. I wished I could take those words back. My world fell apart, our world fell apart. My brother dead, my new sister-in-law a widow at 17 and a three week old baby boy fatherless! They estimated the time of the accident about 10pm. Can it get much worse than that at Christmas? I know it can.

For some reason or other, I was sent out on my bike to look for Bill my sister's husband who had been partying the night before at a friends house. I found him, he had a sore head, and told him that he should come up to our place. But he didn't want to, I kept pleading, but I didn't want to tell him why in front of his friends, but I couldn't help it and blurted out that David had died. He did go home, pronto!

So the lead up to Christmas had changed. Funeral arrangements to prepare, the sheer tragedy of loosing someone so young is so hard. I went to my grandmothers place to stay for a couple of nights. I did not really want to be there, as I wanted to be with my family, but my grandmother was besides herself, saying it should've been her that died, and yes she did need someone with her for a few days, but me being a bit of an immature 16 year old, was probably not the best choice, but I hope I did help her.

David's funeral was Christmas Eve, on a bit of a wet day, it was so sad. My eyes were full of tears, and I think they played at the chruch morning has broken, but definately they played Amazing Grace, and I sang that through tears. Acutally the tears are not too far away from me now, they have been kept in check for a long time, but this year, David is in my mind more than ever in the lead up to Christmas.

For months I could never count on anything being permanent ever again. I was waiting for the next tragedy. People who I would bump into in the street, would ask how my parents were, they did not ask how I felt. I think I was slightly depressed as my whole world had changed and nothing was ever the same again, I had lost my innocence, and was thrust into the world whether I was ready for it or not. Welcome to adulthood!

Christmas 73 was hard, and bitter sweet. There was the weak cheer of Christmas time, we all as a family went through the motions. We were all together, not wanting to celebrate, but tradition went ahead through the tears. I remember that Christmas with all its mixed emotions. It was so sad, but now years later, I can accept it happened at Christmas time. I don't accept the fact that he died, but if he had to die, Christmas is not such a bad time to die. Macabre? No, just that Christmas brings David's memory back for me. It keeps the Chistmas spirit in my family, for me anyway, in that David is still with us in spirit on Christmas, and he will always be part of my Christmas, which is the day for togetherness and memories.

My brother David (three years older than me), as I remember was a bit of a rebel. He was a tough boy, if I was scared of one brother, it would be David. I unfortunately had night terrors when I was young and he, being the nasty older brother told me that one day I would faint and never wake up again! Lovely boy. So as you can see, I was a bit of a scaredy cat. But he was tough. In some ways it was a bit like growing up with a gang of brothers. The three of them were all close together in age, and would do everything together, even get on my tricyclye and wreck it! David had long blonde hair, and my youngest son, now has the same long blonde hair and does look a bit like him, but he is not a rebel. David married young and at times you can't help but wonder what life would've held for him and his wife and child. I will remember him being told by his mother and family to give up smoking, and he turned around and said no, because he might be run down by a bus tomorrow. He lived for the day, whether it was smoking or not, and did not concern too much about the future, but how many of us do think about the future being so young?

I have had other hard Christmases, as in marital disharmony, financial worries. But I would rather remember my brother along with the time my son spent Christmas in hospital, instead of those. It is these times that bring families together, and are what memories are made of. It is in these circumstances that the true nature of Christmas is experienced. It is not the financial side, as in gift giving that is important to me, but the being together as family.

But I know there are others out there with equally sad Christmas stories, and I feel for you and my thoughts are with you. At first the emotions are so raw, and so hard to deal with.

I think I have mainly written this for myself, and it does not matter if nobody else reads this, as Christmas should be a happy time, and not a time for grieving, and I do not want to depress anybody, that is why I have put the warning up top.

So if my Christmas threads have been tinged with sandness, this could be the reason, or else I am just a sad old sock.

I wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year.

Cathy

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