Our first Christmas without Moy Moy.

Christmas tree, lit up, fire crackling, stockings hung. Girl in wheelchair and Indian man with full white beard

I love Christmas. But I am so grateful for the Indian tradition of not celebrating festivals for the year after a loved one dies. Because everything feels hollow this year. We seem to be moving in a parallel time zone, created just for us, in which dates are marked by how it was the last time we had her with us and in which time passes only in terms of the day she left us.

It is restful and right not to be shopping, not to be worrying about lists and wrapping, not to be fretting about party invitations and how many people can actually fit into our living room. I’m not tired this year (unless you count the weariness in my soul – deep in my bones – and the utter and astonishing weariness that crying creates); I’m not anxious about the things I forgot to do or the people I forgot to invite.

It’s a truism to say that it all seems so meaningless now, in the face of our loss, but a truism is called a truism because it’s true.

So true you probably don’t need to say it. Except that some things do need to be said.  Over and over.  So here goes:

Christmas is about vulnerability: Refugee parents, young, frightened, on the road. A baby born in poverty. Coincidences and sudden miracles. The power of weakness and the amazement of being open to that power.

Five women in front of a Christmas tree - one elderly, one in a wheelchair

For us, it all came together in Moy Moy. A baby born too soon – tiny, fragile, unwanted. Gathered in, against all odds. Welcomed, named, embraced. We thought we were doing her the favour! OMG. How she turned the tables. How she schooled us, trained us, taught us the favours she had to bestow.

Family photo around the dinner table, two young couples, one older couple, one young woman in a wheelchair

This year, in honour of Moy Moy, we are celebrating Christmas by not celebrating Christmas. That paradox is the same paradox that Moy Moy’s life taught us to understand. Receiving by giving. Triumphing by letting go. Becoming strong by embracing weakness. The mysteries!

I am her mother, but she brought me up.

Merry Christmas, Moy Moy.

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