As most of you know, my wife and I had a son earlier this year, who passed away after only three days. We named him Conor and gave him the middle names William and Henry, after our grandfathers. This should have been his first Christmas. It's been a hard time for us. We have friends who have new babies, or are expecting, and while we're thrilled for them, we miss our son.
However, as hard as this first Christmas will be, we are determined to enjoy it. We know Conor is with us, watching us. No matter what form his presence has to take, we won't let our son's first Christmas be a sad affair. His life meant too much to too many people for us to let him down like that. He taught us about the importance of those we love, and the strength that comes from expressing that love. That's what Christmas should be about.
So we're going to celebrate this Christmas and see it through. I know Conor would want us to be happy, not let our favourite time of year pass in sadness because he can't be with us in the way we wish he could.
To anyone reading this, I'll say the same. This can be a stressful time of year. It's expensive, it's crowded, it's loud. You may find yourself having to spend time with people you'd rather not, because a friend is bringing a guest you don't know, or you fell out once with a particular family member. Or there may be someone you dearly wish was there who can't be.
But this is also a time when we gather around those we love. We share gifts to show how much we care. We offer help to a friend or a stranger when they need it most. We do the most amazing things just to see another person smile and help their Christmas be that much better. We are thankful for the good in our lives. We forgive those who have hurt us. We offer peace and goodwill.
Life's too short, and there are enough times when we feel frustrated, miserable or afraid. Let this one time of year be spent with good in our hearts, each helping one another to be happy however we can. And maybe, just maybe, some of that feeling will stay with us when he season ends, and we can keep it through the year.