Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

A Peacefulness

There is something about sitting in the wee hours of the day with all the lights twinkling that somehow bring such a sense of peace and calm. I am not sure what it is about sitting with that first steaming cup of coffee, the fire place going, the lights twinkling that leave one feeling that way, but I know for me it is one of my favourite times of year for that very reason. Is it that it makes everything feel warm and cozy, is it something more? I don’t have the answers, what I do know is that it brings with it many warm and happy memories of years gone bye.

In our house I grew up celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve, the big turkey dinner, my Grandmother and Uncle with us, having a great family dinner, with many of the German Dishes, that I still love today, along with some traditional type foods. We never had Christmas Stockings, rather we had a Christmas Plate that appeared at our bedside, restocked in the night, we always believed it was Santa’s Elves hard at work. I loved that Christmas Plate filled with Christmas Candies and chocolates and Oranges and baked goodies, I never understood the Christmas stockings and it took until I was an adult too, although, I still prefer those Christmas plates, to stockings.

Just as I still prefer celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve, and having a Christmas day that is totally relaxed, where no one cooks, leftovers come out, you eat and snack as you like, it seems to be a much more stressless type of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, after dinner everyone gathered, around the living room, gifts exchanged, kids went off to play and discovered with their new found gifts, usually things like a new book, pjs, and socks, maybe a new game that everyone had fun playing. Visitors popped in and out and adults visited and shared laughter. Christmas morning everyone slept in, and then the day of playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, and enjoying time with each other.

We didn’t have much as kids, but mom new how to fill the house with love and laughter and could make us feel like we were the luckiest kids alive. I am grateful for all those wonderful memories, things like collecting bottles and taking them in every week with my toboggan, so that I could get a special gift for my mom, dragging that toboggan into town loaded with the bottles, we lived a long spell out of town so it was quite the job to get them there, then taking my money and putting it on my little account the people at the store let me have until, I had added enough to pay for the item, I remember how I felt leaving the store with that gift. Experiences few if any get to have today. It was a simpler time, one I am thankful for.

This year will be spend, going through old family photos of Christmas’s past, the first year without my sister, I will allow myself to smile and think about all the fun we had through the years as kids, then as adults, sharing many many Christmas’s and Christmas shopping together, or a desperate phone call that would find me driving from Campbell River to Victoria, to find her the much sought after perfect gift for her daughter. To the years when we were young when she got into trouble for peaking into presents under the tree to see what was in those beautifully wrapped packages, and she couldn’t help but tell us what we were getting. We talked about that so often over the years.

My more recent years I have spend mostly on my own with my dog, I have had invitations for spending Christmas with others but, am happy to pop by for short visits or having someone stop by here for coffee or meeting for coffee, but I like to leave all the noise and hustle bustle to others and spend my time in a quieter fashion, with my lights twinkling and enjoying a lovely hot chocolate or tea or coffee. I have recently seen many things posted about how to manage the holidays with and for someone with Dementia, and lots of it is great advice, but I somehow feel that if we all just respect each other and allow the room and space for people to celebrate in the way that is best for them, in does’t really matter if you have dementia or not, its just about respecting that we are all different and however we want to do the holidays is how we should do it. For some it is a joyous time, others its a sad time, for some the more the merrier, for others a quiet gathering is better, so no matter how you decide to spend the holidays, I hope you find your heart filled with peace and calm, and that it is exactly what you need it to be. My biggest hope is that you make room to spread love and kindness.

For many it is a time of missing those who are not with us, but I prefer to believe they are here, I feel their presence, I talk to them, I let the tears flow, I laugh, remembering silly and special things, special moments, special gifts exchanged. The first Christmas gift I ever received from my husband, something I still have today. Holidays with family and friends. So I make room for them, for they are still with me in my heart, and they will remain with me forever. So as I remember them I invite them in to spend time with me over the holidays, they are no longer here in the physical sense but they are still here, still part of me and I them.

So from my little Pheobe and I wherever you are, spread love, kindness, and compassion, and I wish you all the very best of the Christmas Season. Merry Christmas Everyone.

Hoping that as 2023 dawns, it showers you all with many blessings, a heart filled with peace, and that you will have a year filled with joy and happiness.

By WWW.Chrissy's

I am an advocate for people with dementia in Canada and globally, having been diagnosed with younger onset dementia myself a few years ago.

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