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Mortality asseverated

IMAGE: The family Christmas gathering.(circa 1870)

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Mortality asseverated.(A personal reflection of the festive season.)

One must be of cold heart not to be emotionally affected in any way during the festive season. You may be one who considers God as large a myth as Father Christmas or flying reindeer?

So be it, I say. Each of their own beliefs, opinions and philosophies.

Yet you cannot help but notice family, friends, acquaintances, even complete strangers offer up a warming smile or an acknowledging nod of the head at this time of year, if at no other.

Making people happy, by giving gifts or simply sharing food and laughter seems more honest and sincere. It feels truer and closer to one’s self than at any other time.

Our children and grandchildren giggle and scream in delight because Santa has brought gifts in brightly coloured wrappings, adorned with glitter and bows. They love watching the tree twinkle with frosting and lights, the sight of pastries and chocolate, boiled candy sweets, nuts and fruits in bowls and jars and hanging from its branches delights more so.

Sitting quietly or standing in the background, we look on. We watch; our own quiet smiles of contentment and understanding lighting our faces as we see our children, the kiddie’s parents, give one another ‘that look’ the glance of acknowledgement and satisfaction of a job well done.

We, ourselves have done all this, time and again. We have now passed the secrets, tricks and teasers down to another generation. The roll we play this year is a welcome change, an accepted alteration of how things are.

How they shall be in forthcoming years.

We reflect on Christmases past.

The familiar sounds from the radio; tunes which accompanied so many of these bygone holidays, now form part of the great soundtrack of our lives. Yet they play once again, seemingly ageless, unlike ourselves.

Many, far too many of those voices we hear singing out with such clarity are now gone. We are simply listening to echoes of history, of dead people as they slowly fade from collective memory.

When we grew, through childhood to our teenage years and beyond, each voice and each name was as familiar as any household item. Posters on our bedroom walls and faces emblazoned on tee-shirts, jackets and bags, scribbled onto the covers of school exercise books and pencil cases.

We sang the words and hummed the tunes on the school bus and in the parks, on the swings and roundabouts, later we swayed and ‘bopped’ to scratchy 45’s in social clubs, coffee bars and community centres… and onwards to night-clubs, discos and raves.

These musicians, singers, bands and groups played the accompaniment to our first loves, our initial sexual fumbles, the fights, the heartbreaks and family feuds. They played on, track after track, each one seemingly written and sang for us, personally ‘our tune’, connecting with us as we travelled to the next stage of our lives.

Until now.

Now they are leaving.

One by one everyone and everything familiar is going away. Each day another voice disappears, their last track laid-down long ago. The master copy lays, gathering dust in some archive, awaiting posthumous release, a final goodbye from beyond the grave to those few loyal fans who have not yet succumbed to times cruel fate.

For us, this is a strange, but awakening time of year. A dawning of acceptance of mortality. The realisation the baton must be handed on, passed down to the younger generations. It is a time to genuinely forgive.

Yet it is also a time to stand tall, even if you can only achieve to do so hypothetically and not physically. Because this is also a time to become somewhat selfish. We must face it. Time is counting down. Our own name is forever moving closer to the top of the grim reapers list.

So now is the time to go and see all the sights you have wanted, but have made excuses not too.

Visit the countries you dreamt of visiting as a child, those far-away places of wonderment you saw on a map of the world. Keep the promises you made yourself all those years ago.Look about you; the happy faces, the giggling grandchildren, even some great-grandchildren… you have done your bit, you have committed for so long and given so much you can allow yourself a smug smile of satisfaction, one for a job well done.

But the world is changing, far too rapidly. Soon it will be a place you do not recognise. Unfamiliar, it will be a place where you are lost, a place you are no longer needed or even required.

Take this last opportunity to see as much of this world as you can, as you wish. Do all those things you have dismissed. You do not have to go bungee jumping in New Zealand, or skydiving, unless that is your want. But fulfil your simplest dreams and wishes; dine in the expensive restaurant, at least once. Swim with turtle, dolphin or pigs, buy that dress, those shoes, run barefoot through a meadow… whatever it may be.

You deserve to realise those hopes and dreams you sacrificed for all the laughing, smiling faces you now see before you today.

Go.Do it now, before they play your own song on Posthumous radio FM.

.Tis the season to be jolly 🙂 

You can read some of my short stories which are much happier and not about Christmas,here.


What do you think?

13 Points

Written by Paul White


  1. Holidays and life in general are not the same. Each year it changes. And you are right. We should all go out and do those things we put off while we can. Inspirational post.

  2. You cannot choose your family… and really, would you want it any different?
    I enjoy the interactions, good, bad and indifferent along with the joy.
    So yes, a treasure and a bain 🙂

  3. The reality of the holidays is always the evolution of us. Within us, around us and without us change is creeping into our lives.

    Sometimes it comes on cat feet, quiet and without warning, pouncing.
    Sometimes it comes in work boots, loud and disruptive.

    It is both the treasure and bain of what is family.