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“Missing” Christmas memories

imageA Christmas photo taken without us knowing reminds me of my last Christmas with Ursula. She has red scary flash eyes in the photo. It’s not flattering. She doesn’t look beautiful. She isn’t laughing and joking. It’s just a snap. Our Aunty probably took it. She always had a camera in hand.We are sitting side by side. Like we did every Christmas. We are on the floor. Squeezed between furniture, decorations and other family members. All trying to get the best view of the tree. None of us close to it apart from the designated Santa and his helper who dishes out the gifts.I am dressed in purple. My favourite colour. Ursula in a greyish patterned jumpsuit. Very stylish in 1986. I am trying to find the clasp on some beautiful new purple beads I have just unwrapped. I loved those beads. I wore them with everything. So stylish. So 80s.The only memory I have of that day, apart from what the photograph captures, is walking and talking outside with Ursula and standing underneath a lush and shady honeysuckle. We didn’t stop talking when we stopped walking. We never did. I reach into the depths of my mind, struggling and straining to recall the exact words. Nothing. Just a feeling. Hot Australian summer’s day. Standing in the coolest shadiest spot we could find. Away from the adults. As they wanted. As we wanted. Dirt under our feet. It’s too shady here for grass to grow. Trucks and traffic would have been going past but we were so used to the passing traffic we never heard or smelt it. Tears wash everything away. Not wet tears from my eyes. Tears that form a lump in the pit of my stomach. They never reach my eyes. They just sit there inside somewhere I can’t reach. Threatening to come. But they never do. Just like the memories. They are threatening to come. But they never do. I am frustrated. And very very sad. The memories are gone. I don’t remember anything of my last Christmas with Ursula. All I have is a photograph and a feeling of standing with her in the shade of a sweet honeysuckle. If I had known it was my last Christmas with Ursula I would have wrapped the day in the brightest red paper I could find and tied it with a shiny, sparkly green ribbon. I would have gotten the scissors out and dragged it along the ribbon strip to make it curl magically and create the most beautiful, handmade and most loved Christmas gift ever. Then on Christmas Day forever more I would carefully unwrap this special gift. What would I find inside? Seventeen years of memories, conversations, events, moments and treasures. And 26 years of questions with no answers, a mystery unsolved and a longing for the truth about what Ursula is doing this Christmas Day.

4 thoughts on ““Missing” Christmas memories

  1. Thanks Sandi, Heidi and Heather for posting comments on my post Missing Christmas memories. Have just been through Easter, which was also a very special time for Ursula and I as children. I am sorry it’s taken me so long to send a thank you to you all for your messages – I really appreciate all the support for Ursula x


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