The Day the Christmas Star came for Our Family

Father, son; rough and tumble; give and take. But how do you have a relationship when your father is dead – killed in action before you were two? When all you have are artifacts: his sword, epaulettes and cocked hat; a sepia photograph of a beaming toddler hoisted high on the shoulders of a young, good-looking man. Forever young.

When your family story has not comic anecdote, but the description of a weeping child, inexplicably inconsolable one long evening – the night they later found out was when his father died.

Make believe is childhood, and yours is that your father might be alive, perhaps lost his memory – and you search faces in crowds, in case.

How do you know your father when he has been transformed into a hero? How can you ever live up to him in the dull normality of peace? When you have your own children, how do you be a father, when you have never had one?

Always the gratitude for the greatest gift: his life for the peaceful world where you can safely raise your kids.

There were his medals presented by King George VI, lifeless in a glass case. And now the Arctic Star is being given to those who served in the Arctic in conditions beyond modern day imagination. Churchill understated it when he called the Arctic convoys “the worst journey in the world”.

You apply on his behalf, assemble the documents that prove his entitlement. And you wait months.

Then on Christmas Eve appropriately a star – the Arctic Star for your father. Finally a gift from you to him.


About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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One Response to The Day the Christmas Star came for Our Family

  1. Bill says:

    Thank you, more than you’ll know, for writing “The Day the Christmas Star….”.

    I am that child – boy – man who cannot recall his father, but is proud to have got his Arctic Star for him.

    I suspect there are many others in my position. For them but especially for me, thank you for expressing it so perfectly.

I really value your comments and particularly where something resonates with your experience.

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