By Gizane Aparicio
If I remember well, 2005 was the last year I spent Christmas with my family.
In the eighteen and a half years I’ve lived in Ireland I only ever went home for Christmas once.
Reason unknown, apart from the fact I never really understood or liked what the Western world has made of what’s supposed to be a religious/spiritual celebration.
My family are not religious to start with, so… nothing much missed there.
I prefer to visit them in the summer, when the sun is low, the beach warm, and the sea cool.
Before I got married, I spent many happy Christmas’ munching on turkey and stuffing sambos and dunking tea cakes in Earl Grey whilst watching crap TV on my own.
While married, I was happy enough to celebrate with the in-laws. Even though I always hated having to adhere to certain traditions just to please people.
But this year is different.
This year I’m finally coming home for Christmas.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, easily the toughest of my life.
My separation broke me open.
Not only did I lose my husband and best friend, but his family, our friends, my home, my job and my mind… almost.
As the crazy Basque woman warrior that I am, I swiftly proceeded to find a new home, start a new business, continue with my studies and make new friends.
Through sheer stubbornness and will power, within a few months I accomplished more than some people do in years.
But of course, something had to give, and it gave.
Whatever had me thinking I could just skip the grieving process altogether.
One day it hit me like a ton of bricks.
The tears, the sadness, the anger, the void… the heart break.
It felt like I was dying.
Thankfully, someone or something out there sent help my way in the shape of what I now call my Earth angels.
I lost count of the amount of times they’ve listened to me go on about my misery.
The amount of times I felt so on edge that I was worried for my life, worried I’d do something stupid.
But I didn’t, cos they were there for me, the listened, advised, cried with me, laughed with me, gave me tough love when I needed it, and tight hugs that kept me together.
If it wasn’t for my new friends and my family I’m not sure I would be writing this today.
But here I am, crazy Basque woman warrior, writing this and packing my bags, so I can be with the people who’ve been there for me.
Show them there’s a lot of love left in me, and it’s all because of them, and for them.
I’m coming home for Christmas.