A Happy New Year

7 Jan

Hello! Happy New Year!
How are we all?
I’ve been in full holiday mode for such a long time it feels like I’m pushing through a fog of chocolate, mulled wine and cosiness. But it’s a good feeling. It feels fresh and exciting and full of strong coffee, fresh air and new beginnings.

We lost a friend in the Christmas holidays. It was very sudden and completely unexpected. She was very young and fit and healthy. It was a terrible shock. It also came quite soon after we’d lost Claire in November. It felt like a double hit.

What do you do when someone young and so full of life dies so suddenly? What can you do? I think you have to ask why and you have to take the shock onboard. But I think it’s also necessary to take stock. To accept that there isn’t always a reason, that bad things sometimes happen to good people. And then you hold on to that knowledge and you look at yourself. Your life, your family, your friends. And you make your life the best it can be and you tell your friends and family that you love them.

It might sound like a strange thing to say after losing another friend, but I had a really wonderful Christmas. I looked at my life and my family and friends and I enjoyed them. Because it felt like the most important thing in the world to do. We had an all day party with new friends and old. We had a wonderful family Christmas with quality time together, lovely food and drink and lots of laughter and happiness. We played Playmobil and superheroes and hide and seek. We went on dog walks together, made secret dens and obstacle courses. We read stories to each other and watched films together. We cosied up and read our books with a glass of something yummy and candles lit in the background. In short, we celebrated our lives together. Because what else can you do?

On Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve (and all the times in between when they were close in our thoughts) we raised a glass to Claire and to Laura, and to all the people who were missing them. I raise my coffee mug to them now. And I think, Onwards. 2013 was a great year for me and for my family. Yes we had sad times and worrying times and stressful times. But looking back, they were all things that we had no control over and we dealt with them as a family and we kept thinking positively. Overall the happy times outweighed the bad. It was a cracker of a year. No resolutions for me this year, I’m just going to hold Claire and Laura in my thoughts and do what feels right. I’m more determined than ever to make 2014 an absolute stunner. For Claire, for Laura, and for us.

So a happy New Year to you all. May it be filled with books, love and laughter. Give your loved ones a hug and raise your coffees to those who aren’t here to hug.
Let’s make them all proud. Let’s do this!

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7 Responses to “A Happy New Year”

  1. bridgeanneartandwriting January 7, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    That’s a beautiful post, Carmen. I’ve been feeling v stressed but your post has reminded me of books, love and laughter. Thank you. I am so sorry you have lost 2 of your close friends, but you are so right in your positive reaction.

    • carmenhaselup January 7, 2014 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks, Anne. That’s lovely of you to say. I often read your posts and tweets and feel inspired and admire your honesty and passion. Don’t let the stress get you now! I find cake helps too!
      Have you seen the New Year Glass Jar thing that’s been floating around on social media? You write a coloured post it every time something good happens and full a glass jar with all the folded notes. It can be anything – you had a lovely lunch with a friend, your daughter got a wonderful grade for a project she was really proud of, you got published !! You can watch the jar fill up over the year and on New Year’s Eve you read them through and celebrate a wonderful year. We did it last year. It helps put things into perspective!

      • bridgeanneartandwriting January 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

        What a brilliant idea! I shall go and get one immediately. That is a v profoundly lovely spiritual practice! xx

  2. Catherine January 7, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    So sorry to hear of your losses Carmen. I wish you and your family a very happy and creative 2014.

    • carmenhaselup January 7, 2014 at 11:10 am #

      Thank you! I hope 2014 is brilliant for you and yours too 🙂

  3. ReadItDaddy January 7, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    A lovely, thought provoking and touching post. Sorry to hear of your losses. Christmas and New Year are definitely good times to reflect on what has passed and what is to come, what’s important and what’s not. Have really enjoyed reading your blog, seeing the Rainbow Library go from strength to strength and sharing some of your passion and enthusiasm for books. A happy new year to you and yours from me, Ali and Charlotte x

  4. Helen January 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    What a moving post, Carmen. I’m so sorry to hear you lost two close friends at the end of the year. Am inspired by the way you have focused on the positive, and so glad you have had such a lovely Christmas. Onwards and upwards in 2014, may we always be ready with those hugs and mugs of coffee. Helen x

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