New Year 2019 Reflections

Written by  //  January 2, 2019  //  Nicholson musings and messages, Reports  //  No comments

Dear Friends and extended family around the globe,

At two recent festive dinners, the host has invited each of us to briefly say what we are most grateful for. This is to me a new tradition and one which I welcome. On both occasions, I have unhesitatingly said that I am most grateful for the incredible love and support of friends old and new throughout the past year. I am indeed truly blessed and only hope that in some small way I am able to reciprocate.

A special delight this year has been the reappearance of several friends, including a couple of university classmates with whom I had lost contact years ago. In this regard, the much-maligned Facebook has been a magical connector. Yes, I am even prepared to put up with the annoying ads if by doing so, I rediscover a dear friend from the past.

Among the many tributes to the late President George H.W. Bush, there have been frequent references to his campaign theme of a thousand points of light. It seems only fitting to reprise the phrase with reference to the vast number of friends and family who sparkle in our personal firmament.

As many know, prior to his fall in February when he broke his hip, David’s mental capacity had declined quite sharply over the last year. However, we had good reason to believe that following his successful surgery, he would return home. That was not to be and from the hospital he went to a long-term care facility where he lapsed into a coma on April 8 and died peacefully.

Fiona was on a business trip to Ottawa and came the next day to be with me for a week, helping to make all the immediate decisions. She was –and has been throughout the year – a rock.

As there was no requirement to expedite the service, we opted to hold a celebration in late April, giving our Singapore family time to plan travel.  The Memorial service – ‘Celebration’ in today’s terms and truly appropriate – was a marvelous tribute to David and we were incredibly touched by the presence of friends from near and far of all ages, professional & personal backgrounds and interests, along with an overwhelming number of messages. It was a unique event, evocative of David’s beloved Wednesday Night, with, as one friend said, “speed eulogies”. Two minutes per speaker, strictly enforced by Marc. If you have not done so already, I invite you to view Celebrating David T. Nicholson’s Life and the associated posts.

Since then, life has continued on a relatively even keel, despite some struggles with what I have baptized the necrobureaucracy. In most cases, the authorities have been helpful and sympathetic, but it seems that in each group there lurks one entity that is either incompetent or takes pride in misinterpreting rules and, sadly, some professionals on whom we have relied in the past have proven to be a great disappointment. I won’t name them here, but if you want a list – contact me!

These cases, however, have been few and far between. The Wednesday Night extended family is a unique constellation. Amazing friends and colleagues have given unstinting personal and professional support and continue to do so. They are among the most brilliant and unblinking of the thousand points of light.

It would have been unthinkable to have discontinued the Wednesday Night Salon. David’s spirit would have haunted us as a particularly malevolent poltergeist. And I cannot imagine how unfocussed my life would be without the challenge of researching and preparing each week’s topics. Therefore, I am especially grateful to those who participate regularly, and if not physically present, contribute thoughtful analyses and comments. And, of course, it is a delight to welcome the out-of-towners who make an effort to clear their schedules for a Wednesday visit. I am also grateful to those who have introduced new faces who add to our shared knowledge and experience, maintaining the sparkle of our discussions.

It is great fun to see Marc perpetuating David’s legacy through sessions at his Singapore 1880 Club. The Club has hosted some truly memorable events and Marc has performed brilliantly as moderator,  facilitator, and we suspect agent provocateur.

Although I anticipated that the first Christmas without David would be poignant, if not difficult, I had intended to carry on our traditional celebrations including the timely Christmas/Holiday/New Year’s message.

However, circumstances, including the lack of deadlines imposed by arrival of family, absent this year for very good reasons, and a lingering lack of energy following my surgery in November, simply wore me down. I still require far more sleep than usual, but hope to overcome that handicap early in 2019. Maybe it is an involuntary form of avoidance of the cascade of awful news that invades my waking hours? Finally, to cap it all, I have spent most of the holiday wheezing, sneezing and sniffling under blankets with my two 4-footed hot water bottles curled up beside me.

To compensate, throughout the holiday season there have been some unexpected and energizing one-on-one visits from friends, including several with whom I had lost contact. Each has discussed an intriguing current project that together we may be able to usefully promote, move forward and/or connect with another. I am looking forward to doing so in the coming year.

 

 

 

Seasonal Reading:
Christmas banned? The unknown, forgotten and surprising history of this holiday tradition
While Fox News has been promoting the idea that there’s a war on Christmas in America today, author Judith Flanders says there really was a war on Christmas — but not the one pushed by the network.
“The only war on Christmas that we know of has been waged by the Christian church,” says Flanders, who wrote the new book, Christmas: A Biography.
Read the excellent, highly informative review from the New York Times of December 2017

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