I miss my mum the most on Christmas eve. For as long as I can remember, we always spent Christmas eve together. Even when we were off at our own events, we would get together after and talk well into the morning. Sometimes my brother would join us, other times not. We would call family out west and wish them a merry Christmas. It was a ritual. After the wee hours turned into near-dawn, we would call family in Scotland and be the first to wish them a merry Christmas.
Once my daughter came along, and then my nephew, and after we got through the magic of hanging the stockings and preparing the cookies, milk and carrots (for Rudolph), mum and I would settle in and watch the Christmas eve mass on tv, and chat into the early morning hours. We still managed the phone calls. (I remember one year, she mis-dialed and talked to someone in Hong Kong!)
Then after mum died, Christmas eve suddenly seemed so empty. The church, the kids routines, were all the same. We started our own ritual of celebrating Jesus' birthday, complete with cake and candles,
but later, when not a creature was stirring, the silence was deafening. And defeating. She really was gone. The long chats and phone calls would never happen again. At least not in the same way. Something so simple suddenly became so painful. I now dread Christmas eve and I can't wait for it to be over. For another year.