When you’re not feeling festive


Last Christmas was my worst one on record. It should have been the happiest – the first Christmas we had as a family of four, our baby girl being born in the summer before. Instead, we’d had the year to end all years, my husband had spent eight months in hospital after suffering a major thrombosis in May. He’d had to have surgery to remove 3m of his small bowel, after two huge blood clots formed due to a blood disease he never knew he had.

He was finally allowed home a few days before Christmas, but although he was home, he was being fed through a drip, had a temporary stoma and a massive wound from the surgery, which bled fairly regularly and meant he was unable to venture very far. Our home was transformed into a hospital, with an extra fridge installed for all his medicines and drip stands to hold the 3kg of fluid he needed daily. Our shed and the upstairs of the house was crammed with boxes of medical dressings and nursing supplies. But he was home, we were together as a family again and the relief to be away from the hospital environment was immense. Added to that, he’d just been taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he’d been seen by a consultant who gave him a glimmer of hope about his condition. He was confident he would be able to operate in the new year to reverse the stoma, get rid of the colostomy bag, the drip and at least some of the medicines he was taking.

Funnily enough, for all the sadness I felt at watching him being at home but so weak and vulnerable, he looks upon last Christmas as a happy time, when he was given the freedom to come home and think positively about what was to come. I’ve got a huge amount of admiration for that, and after the hard times we’d been through it helped me stay positive too. At the back of our minds was always the thought that we’d nearly lost him, and anything was better than him not being here at all.

So we got through Christmas, pretending to our children that everything was fine, and daddy was home and it would all be ok. Baby gal was far too young to know, of course, but first born seemed relatively unaffected by the whole situation, accepting it in the way we’re told children just do. We really wanted to cancel Christmas, forget it was happening and take to our beds for a month, but clearly with two kids that was never going to be possible, so we did what most people would have done, and carried on “as normal”. The day after he returned home, we went to a Christmas concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic that we’d bought tickets for months earlier, thinking he would be so much better than he was. Looking back, I’m wondering how we actually managed to go, reindeer headgear on and jingle bells in hand, trying to ignore what was really happening and get into the festive spirit.

This year, we’re booked into the concert again, and hopefully it will be a much more regular family outing. Throughout all those months when things were at their worst, all we wished for was for things to be normal; no dramas, ups and downs or major revelations. And I’m hoping that’s what it will be like this Saturday. We’ll get up, get ready, go to the concert, have fun, feel festive, be a family, come home and go to bed. No drips, no dressings, and no dramas.

X Julia

Mami 2 Five
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  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 7:48 am

    The way you got through all that was amazing. What a year. And what a difference this year. Get R in charge and get you feet up!!!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 7:50 am

    The way you got through all that was amazing. What a year. And what a difference this year. Get R in charge of food/drink and get your feet up!!!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2014 at 7:59 am

      Ah thanks Clare! Seeing as I’m full of cold, I think this is the first time in years I feel worse than him! Haha xx

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Here’s hoping for an altogether more relaxed & happy festive season for you all x
    Colette recently posted…Father Christmas at GreenWood Forest Park, Attractions of Snowdonia – ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply
      December 19, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Thank you! Xx

  • Reply
    Hayley Smith @hayleyfromhome
    December 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Oh gosh, that’s must have been such a difficult time for you all. Wishing you all a happy and relaxed Christmas this year! Enjoy the carols, must be beautiful at the Phil xx
    Hayley Smith @hayleyfromhome recently posted…Grobag – A Baby EssentialMy Profile

    • Reply
      December 19, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks Hayley, yeah can’t wait it for tomorrow! Xx

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Here’s to a much easier year. My friend always says that a good year is a year where nothing happens. I hope that for you this 2015!! Xxxx

    • Reply
      December 19, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks so much Immy xxxx means a lot. Rog always says there’s a curse that says ‘may your life be interesting’ haha xxxx

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    OMG – you poor, poor things. You must be like superwoman to have cooed with all that!! Is he all ok now then? You’ve had a horribly tough time. And I wish you the best Christmas ever! Xxx

  • Reply
    Lucie Fenton
    December 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    An sometimes because you have coped so amazingly I think we forget it ever happened but reading this just now it brings back the fact that you are, and have been so strong and I am so very, very proud to be able to say you are my friend. Now enjoy your concert and stop making me cry. Christmas love to all of you. xxxxxxxx

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Julia you are AMAZING. How you coped with all this, plus your children – I have no idea. I am so glad your Hubby got to come home and spend it with you all last year. I bet it’s been tough this year on and off, however big love and hugs for this Christmas. Hope you get the lovely time you deserve. So glad to have got to know you this year and excited about getting to know you much better in 2015 too. Happy Christmas. Cheers! Jess #sundaystars
    mummyofboygirltwins recently posted…The ‘not-so-secret’ SantaMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Gosh, my heart goes out to you all. What a difficult time it must have been. Here’s to an altogether more enjoyable Christmas for you all. Xx #sundaystars
    MylifeMylove recently posted…2014 – You were pretty amazingMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    December 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I still can’t really believe how you managed with last year. I really hope this year is lots of fun and you can properly enjoy it. #sundaystars
    Mini Travellers recently posted…Sunday StarsMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Awww bless you! Your post brought tears to my eyes. I had no idea you had been through so much. So glad that your hubby is much better now. Illness is so hard and when there are children at home too, it’s so much harder to brave face it all the time. Sending lots of love your way and hope you have a lovely time at the show xxx
    Fiveadventurers recently posted…Center Parcs Winter WonderlandMy Profile

  • Reply
    Hayley Gradwell
    December 22, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Wrap up warm, get some lemsip and take a few moments to see how far you’ve come from this time last year… Hopefully that will bring a little festivity to your life. Get well soon x

  • Reply
    Michelle Peters
    December 22, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    What an incredible achievement to have got through 2013, I hope you have a spectacular Christmas and a long rest.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    What an emotional time of year this must be for you. I hope you have a wonderful break this year, lots of love to you all x x x x

  • Reply
    December 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    What an emotional time of year this must be for you. I hope you have a wonderful break this year, lts of love to you all x x x x
    ghostwritermummy recently posted…When birth trauma creeps up on youMy Profile

    • Reply
      December 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Thank you so much xxx

  • Reply
    Looking forward to 2015 - Rainbeaubelle
    December 31, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    […] We haven’t made as many trips over as we usually do the past few years as my husband has been unwell, but we’ll be making up for it this year. I’ve already got my sights set on the Turkish […]

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