I'll be busily wrapping a present or writing cards with my three year old, listening to Michael Buble (yes, sorry), feeling rather contented in that it's nearly Christmas, cosy kind of way. But I can't quite feel fully happy. There's a little niggle in the back of my mind. A little piece of sadness hiding in a corner of my heart that is mainly hidden and tucked away as the madness of daily life takes over. It occasionally surfaces and because I'm surrounded by my children, I normally have to suppress it, stuff it back into that corner to wait for a more appropriate time. But there never seems to be one and days go by without thinking about it.
And then I go and order the ham and the sausages from the butcher for Christmas. I stand there deliberating about how many chipolatas and rashers of bacon we will need. And whether I should get the gammon on the bone, off the bone, how many sausages per person.. It's another jolly, Christmassy moment, standing in the butcher. But that little niggle is still there, tucked away and I can't quite feel fully happy once again.
I come home, ring my mum to consult on whether I should change to a boned piece of ham. And as the phone rings and I leave her a message, I feel the niggle coming back and the wave of sadness rise up inside me.
The children aren't here, I'm alone, and suddenly, out of nowhere, the tears start to pour silently down my face as the sadness engulfs me. I can't keep it locked up in there forever. It needs to come out sometimes. The smallest thing like ordering sausages triggers it. Or writing Christmas cards - to one person, not to two.
I sit here and remember him. My darling Pops, who won't be with us this Christmas for the first time ever.
I love you, I miss you and I wish that you were still here with us.