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  • Writer's pictureTony Holden

Our Christmas letter

[1] In mid-November it was a year since Tony stopped being able to stand or walk. Of course, I’d been struggling for some years with walking sticks outdoors and grab-handles in. Meanwhile Barbara has to cope with a hospital bed in our main room and carers at least twice a day. And, of course, I Barbara, continue to manage the ongoing problems caused by the seizure back in February 2021. So, many things are difficult.


[2] We have been trying, for the best part of a year, to sell our house and buy a flat on one level and with a small garden. The first should give Tony space to use a wheelchair and the second for Barbara to continue gardening. So far we don’t have, as they say, a ‘done deal.’


[3] Daughter Sian and son Adam were 50 this year with Sian first-born. There were wonderful parties both in Gateshead-Newcastle and Guildford. Daughter Sian and Andy with Felix and Olli – Son Adam and Kate with Philip and Judith are such a joy. With Sian and Adam’s continuing help, we are trying to make living here easier and they are managing the hoped-for house move.


[4] In addition to routine daily living we press on with our own creativity and spirituality. I Barbara go to many events at our Loughton Methodist Church including Sundays, a women’s group, meditation worship, and a crafting group. Most months we write a short article for our church magazine. I Tony, continue writing, poetry, corresponding, and drawing [with a regular art class zoom with teacher Ruth Dronsfield].


[5] Barbara writes: my vocation and life’s work has been in education, community work and interfaith dialogue. In addition to how that contributes to identity there are also opportunities in small groups, individual friendships and even meetings with strangers in the High Road. And, when there is so much hatred and violence to do with difference, I know I’m onto something profoundly important.


[6] Many families have been digging deep because of the damage caused by Brexit, covid, the effects of climate change, wars, and all that follows from continuing injustice and inequality between the rich and poor. Much of this is the world as we see it through the media. There have been so many negative things happening from UK government incompetence and carelessness and through the two terrible wars: Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Palestine.


[7] Well, we say: “let peace begin with me.” And we join hands with all, whatever their motivation, who have the same worldview and the same commitment to peace and justice.


[8] So, we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

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