Christmas is a time for making, and recording, new memories.
We take photographs of children on Santa’s knee, families gathered in front of the tree or the obligatory Christmas jumper snaps. We see how big the children have grown, how much weight we’ve put on (or taken off) and how much hair we’ve lost.
We see the addition of little ones and, sadly, the loss of others from year to year.
These photographs show how much has changed and what has stayed the same. When I look back at them, I also see (and feel) the progression of my MS.
How times have changed
I see pre-diagnosis Christmases, posing at the top of tall ladders to hang the star on top of the tree.
I see years with crutches or a walker (and back to decorating, albeit without the ladder). I see multi-course, lavish dinners for extended family and friends, followed by pot-lucks or simpler meals at another’s house.
I see the stacks of garishly wrapped presents that former well-paying employment afforded and years when O. Henry’s story ‘The Gift of the Magi’ seemed to be the theme.
This is the season of what was and what is staring us in the face.
A new perspective
It’s not always worse. It’s not even always different. What it is, is always there. I see, I remember, I long for the days when… But, just like tastes and fashions change, so to have my thoughts and feelings as I review these annual photographs.
For every year (or at least most of them) that something has changed less favorably, I look for positive memories.
I see lessons I’ve learned in the way I do things and the pleasures of simple joys. We take longer to decorate (and even longer to put away) the trimmings of the season.
We create new traditions to share with others and we cut out many of the excesses which have cluttered the holidays.
Finding joy in simple things
Perhaps it’s the warm glow of the fairy lights or the sheen old photographs take on over the years, but I try to see joy even if the season seems particularly difficult.
There always seems to be some – lots, even – of beautiful, loving, warm, and kind things to focus on at this time of year.
Even if it’s little more that lighting the fire and curling up with a favourite Christmas film on telly, the warmth of the season can seep in through the wet blanket MS can put on the thing.
I wish all in the MS community the simple pleasures of the season and that you find joy all around you in the new year.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
About Trevis: Born in Michigan, Trevis now lives in County Kerry, Ireland, with his wife Caryn. Trevis’ award-winning books, Chef Interrupted and Dingle Dinners, are in the shops now. Read more from Trevis on his website.