Miriam O'Callaghan: Forgive in the now, for those we've lost cannot
Christmas is a gift and an occasion to heal and love, writes Miriam O'Callaghan
Every morning I get up at 5am. And every morning my father dies at 5.01am. He has died now 740 times. I don't think he'll ever get over the novelty.
His own father was buried on Christmas Eve. His six small children watching the horses panic on the steep, icy hill before the cemetery at Templecurraheen. Every year when we lit the Christmas Candle at dusk - the match held by the youngest and the oldest in the family - we remembered the grandfather we never knew.
In family photos, he was a dark, austere, handsome man. In family stories, a man with a fine voice, a big brain, a short fuse and a long reach. But for me, in the Christmas flame, he was ever the young occupant of an old hearse, his three sons and three daughters, mesmerised by sudden death and the treacherous legs of horses. "My Daddy is dead," said the youngest to the undertaker, with exquisite redundancy. Though he didn't know it at the time, he was saying it for me.