Monthly Musing – November 2020 – Too late
This weekend, we made the tough decision not to meet up with our family at Christmas. It was tough because it’s never easy to tell loved ones that you won’t be spending time with them – but at the same time it was very easy because we want to keep them safe.
Small daughter has been at school, big daughter has had uni work which has taken her out of the house, my husband and I have been out to buy food and essentials … not much of a risk, you might think, but we have been in contact with so many more people than the rest of our family have and with other people’s underlying health conditions to consider, we are not prepared to take even the slightest risk that we might pass something on.
For others in a similar situation, Christmas might feel like a write-off. Making our choices, however, has felt empowering to us. We are all free to do whatever we want to in our own houses on Christmas Day (there’s already talk in our house of wearing pyjamas All Day, but I’m not sure about that!), we can still talk to each other over video call and there will be other days when we can get together. Sure, it won’t be Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, but as our Christmas dinner is essentially just a bigger version of a Sunday dinner, we know we will be able to create a celebratory family meal another time when it’s safer for us to get together.
We might have chosen differently if any of our households were just one person who would be left on their own, but we are fortunate not to be in that position. We are thankful that we can still be together remotely, that we have the means to connect via the internet and that hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about Christmas 2020 for years to come as the year that everything was different.
This situation has reminded me of an interview I heard with the actor, Celia Imrie, where she said that her mother always told her that the two saddest words in the English dictionary were … and here she paused, and I filled in the words myself – “good bye”? (good byes always make me cry!), “I’m sorry”? – but I really wasn’t expecting what she said next.
Oh yes, absolutely. I can remember the moment that I heard her speak, the words made my eyes fill with tears because I realised the truth of it. “Too late.” Those words cover everything – something that you’ve missed, something that you’ve done and regretted, something that dims the light in your life – and I think that Celia Imrie’s mother was right.
As much as we’ll miss our family, we are all determined that our choice not to see each other will not mean that our actions will result in those words being relevant to us. We may not pull crackers on Christmas Day, but if we are lucky, it won’t be too late for us to do so another day.