The Christmas Rose

Before the twelve days of Christmas are over I ought to introduce readers to ‘The Christmas Rose’.

This dates from what might have been deemed a sad time in family life. I’d have been a young teenager – a good time for not being happy. It’s at about that point we all have to come to terms with the fact that we are who we are and that we are not going to make it as an international cricketer or whatever overly ambitious scheme we might have had. We also have to worry about relationships and wonder if we’ll ever be a success at them.

But in my house I also had an ill mother and I suspect my dad was finding it hard to cope. He knew that her illness was terminal and, like many of us, I think he felt that her illness was a situation he couldn’t control. He liked to be in control.

I think he also felt he needed to provide some degree of a normal life for me.

Christmas is always a difficult time in families where things might not be perfect. It became a bit of a token event in the household.

At some point I had come home from a jumble sale with a red rose. This was an electric light with a bulb inside. For some reason this rose became THE Christmas decoration.

Much more recently my step mother (my dad had a second marriage and celebrated a silver wedding) passed the rose to me. So now it comes out at Christmas as a decoration in our house. It isn’t THE decoration. We have all sorts of items to mark the festive season. Quite a few of them have some family history attached.

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There it is, unlit and below it is illuminated.

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It may come as a surprise, but this rose still has the power to induce some sadness in me. Somehow it serves as a reminder of family members, notably a mother and a brother who are no longer with us because they died far too young.

But even so, I like to see The Christmas Rose out for those few brief days of the festive season.

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