This is the room box of his own lounge made by my cousin Richard. He told me they had been decorating it for Christmas ever since he made it ten years ago. I made the dolls, Richard researched, commissioned and made everything else, after trips to Miniatura, the place to find all the best in miniature.
When he emailed and said it was ten years ago, the timescale was a wonderful gift to me.
The last nine and a half years have been awful for me. Family illness and death, personal close calls, addiction in the house, dementia, loss of pets and one crisis after another. I sincerely hope, now I am finally, properly, on the mend that my decade of awful is over, and that I have a long and healthy life ahead of me.
But it all began over ten years ago when my mother went back home to the town we had lived in and went round telling anyone who would listen how evil I was. She blackened my name in every quarter, my step-mum-in-law told me she had. Many family members, believing her, ostracised me. But Richard ran in the other direction, towards me. Out of the blue he rang me and said he needed to make a doll’s house and when was I available?
But it wasn’t until his email a couple of days ago that I put two and two together. Ten and a bit years ago my mother had dementia but was not formally diagnosed until my father died. Slagging off the N&D is very typical of the early stages of dementia, in my experience. SMIL has been calling her daughter names. My mother-in-law told the neighbours her husband was cheating on her and they never spoke again until my father-in-law’s funeral.
I suffered for years from frosty silence and have only just realised the reason why.
I’m not going to tell family members. The ghosts of Christmas past can lie easy. I won’t disturb them.
What I have is the best Christmas present you can have.
Peace. Internal peace. A calm mind. Realising that what went wrong in the past was not your fault. Knowing, in a difficult year, that you have done whatever can be done.
I am happy with myself.
(Though, when I get on the scales tomorrow I may not be quite as ecstatic with clever clogs me.)
I wish you peace. I wish that you be happy with yourself.
I wish you Happy Christmas.