No Christmas this year

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I’m spending Christmas alone this year.

It’s not as sad as it sounds. It’s likely that I’ll be doing an evening shift on Christmas Eve, which for Finns equals Christmas, and another shift until lunch time on Christmas Day.

I work in a posh place, so from an observant’s point of view Christmas is likely to be an interesting occasion. Something different. The place is beautifully decorated and I’ll be joining my colleagues in a type of Secret Santa, where we put unisex presents (max cost £10) into a bag and draw one out. So I’ll have something to open when I get home. (Not because I don’t get presents, because I have a bad habit of opening them early.)

Whatever’s left of the holidays I’ll be spending it reading and eating chocolates, the exact same thing I’d be doing if I was at my parents’ house in Finland. I’ll be missing certain TV shows like the declaration of Christmas peace, a tradition that has been around since the Middle Ages, but I’m sure I can watch that online later. Or not, as Finnish TV companies seem overtly jealous about some rascal watching their content without possibly paying their taxes into the old country. GASP.

Fuck you Ida, no Christmas peace for you.

That seems to include my family as well, unfortunately. Mum has said it might be for the best that I’m spending Christmas in the UK, as she is having difficulty in getting into the holiday spirit. My uncle Mikko will be seen off to his final journey this Friday.

It will only be her and my other uncle at the funeral. By her request.

The three siblings faced all tragedies alone: my grandfather deserting the family, my grandmother’s death. It only makes sense that they will make this final journey together.

There will be two songs played at the funeral, I chose one of them.

Its translated title is ‘The world is beautiful.’

A couple of days after my uncle’s death mum calls an acquaintance about an unrelated matter.

“Oh, you must be over it by now then”, she says. “As you can sort this matter out.”

Gotten over it. The death of her brother.

It’s because he was an alcoholic who lived alone. He was as good as dead in many ways, wasn’t he.

No he fucking wasn’t! 

I almost sent him a Christmas card. I had just finished one for my other uncle, and almost freaked out. Oh my god, I almost forgot Mikko!

Then I remembered.

Post cards were our main communication method. I hadn’t spoken to my uncle in years directly but mum said he was always visibly happy to receive a Christmas card or a post card from a trip and told her to say thank you on his behalf.

I call mum and tell her. She understands.

“I thought how I don’t need to get him a present this year”, she said. “Then I got sad that Mikko isn’t anymore.”

A Finnish phrase when someone has passed away. Someone isn’t anymore. It’s my native language’s beauty in all of its understated. It’s short. It’s heartbreaking.

This person isn’t anymore.

I’m on my way home from a shopping trip in Manchester. I’m waiting for my connection when there is an announcement regarding another service.

“The 17.45 service to London Euston is delayed by approximately 22 minutes. This is due to a person being hit by a train. We apologise for the delay and the inconvenience this may cause you.”

Fucking hell, they don’t sugar coat that one do they. In Finland it’s called a ‘person accident.’ This service has been delayed due to a person accident.

Everyone knows what has happened. Everyone knows that someone has died.

Why do they have to be so graphic about it? They never call a spade a spade when it comes to trains otherwise, delays are usually due to signalling problems or vehicle issues or staffing complications.

But the moment someone in all likelihood has lost their life, bring on the details!

Is it to stop people moaning about the delay?

For once, we have a good reason!

I didn’t get hit by a train because a fence was too high for me to climb. It’s not that I didn’t try. I remember little streaks of blood dripping underneath my fingernails. Maybe one drystone wall still has a microscopic spec of my DNA left.

Someone else succeeded where I failed.

People have told me that this method of suicide is especially selfish. Why can’t you just have the decency to kill yourself in the privacy of your own home, without causing distress to an innocent train driver and delay to innocent commuters.

I hate to be the one to tell you this but no matter how important you consider yourself to be, your commute isn’t more important than a human life.

Before I catch my connection, I hear the announcement three more times. Each time a person’s life has added a minute to the delay.

“Due to a person being hit by a train.”

“Due to a person being hit by a train.”

“Due to a person being hit by a train.”

Before you even begin to consider complaining about a delay for this reason, imagine this:

Your journey was delayed by approximately 25 minutes.

One family will not have Christmas this year.

 

 

 

This post was written as a Christmas present to my care-coordinator. This wasn’t the razor sharp satire he asked for but he still deserves a present for everything he has done.

 

 

 

 

 

8 comments

  1. Beautiful. Holidays are always hard when someone isn’t around any more, but you’ll still be thinking of him. Honestly, sometimes being removed from all the enforced jollity is nice. You might *actually* get some peace – I certainly hope so xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderfully written. Even if you can’t watch the declaration of Christmas peace (which sounds like a wonderful tradition, by the way), I hope that you are given a moment, or a taste of peace this Christmas, in some way or another.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In all truth, I’m far more likely to enjoy my Christmas in a certain amount of solitude and peace. It doesn’t happen enough, but that’ life.
    In having that *I forgot Mikko* moment, you had a piece of him in your heart. That’s lovely.
    The train? Jesus… I don’t even believe how crass, unfeeling, grotesque etc etc that is….
    Keep writing, Lady – you are always a great story teller.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Liz, your comments always make my day. I’m in a bit of a slump at the moment so don’t feel like writing but I will make a return once I feel up to it. In the meantime, my mate and I have a comedy podcast coming out soon if you want to have a listen xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • *bounces up and down with excitement* Yes, Please!!! I’d love to hear your podcast!!
        Write when you feel the need. Sometimes taking a break to let that stuff process is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. And – you’ve made MY day with your kindness. 🌟💗🍰

        Liked by 1 person

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