How I mark Christmas since my son and only child died

by Caroline

The photo of Fraser was taken after 8pm Christmas night 2021. It was an emotional day for him. He asked on Christmas morning if we could talk and said that what he’d been through since being diagnosed had just hit him. It was a very emotional conversation, he said: “I’ll do what I always do, think positive, after all mum I’m lucky my tumour is not high grade. Sadly, other people are not as lucky as me”. 

Fraser didn’t know the tumour was high grade; the experts didn’t know which road it would take as it was rare. In the photos, after a very emotional day he was still smiling. He never stopped smiling through his illness no matter what card he was dealt. That’s what Phil, Fraser’s stepdad, and I think about every day - his smile.

Fraser loved Christmas and enjoyed giving presents and thought of others all of the time. For Christmas 2021 he surprised us with tickets to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and an overnight stay for the three of us; he knew we’d all wanted to see it for years. 

For our wedding anniversary in January 2022, he had booked a stay for us all at the hotel where my husband Phil and I were married. Unfortunately, we had to change the date due to Covid and Fraser rebooked for January 2023. We kept the reservation as Phil and I wouldn’t let Fraser down, but it was extremely emotional without him. Walking back into the hotel I thought ‘What would Fraser do?’ and decided to smile and enjoy this very thoughtful and generous gift to both of us. We spoke about him continuously. 

I dreaded the first Christmas after Fraser died - I really did. We didn’t send Christmas cards or anything like that and we didn’t have Christmas dinner. Instead, we went up to the cemetery in the morning and spent time with Fraser. For some people that might not be for them, but that’s what I wanted to do. But we did the things that Fraser would have wanted us to do and I know he would have agreed with not having Christmas dinner but remembering him in other ways.

Fraser loved Christmas and enjoyed giving presents. He had a mini version of the main Christmas tree he’s standing beside in the photo. It’s important now that I decorate his room the same way he did every Christmas. 

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