This Christmas, I will try to remember it could be my last. That it could be my last without being under the influence of chemotherapy drugs and that it may well be my last with hair.
This Christmas I will savour all the delights of my wonderfully warm and dysfunctional family and I will smile through it. I will thank my family for their loving support over the last couple of years and I will try to spread love and happiness through my brother's house on Christmas day.
This Christmas, I will be grateful for my brother's smile, my mother's enthusiasm, my sister in law's patience, my step mother's jollity and my half brother's cheerfulness.
This Christmas I will savour every hug I get, every smile flashed my way by my children and my relatives.
This Christmas, I will be so happy to have your arms around me, your love like a bubble protecting me from the outside world, and your tenderness lighting my life like a flaming torch.
This Christmas I will open every present as though it was the only present in the world, as though I had always wanted whatever is inside and I will be thankful for the love and the thought which the person gives me with every card, with every label and with every sheet of paper.
This Christmas, I will hug my children constantly and savour their arms, their humour and their charm like a long, slow mouthful of the most exquisite warm chocolate. This Christmas, I will lay down memories for them of their mother, mad, warm and quite possibly eccentric, as someone that they remember with fondness, as a hot water bottle for the cold years ahead without me.
This Christmas will not be about me, or my illness. It will be about being together, about loving one another despite our faults, about tolerance, compassion and above all love. It will be about sharing as a family around the table, about getting ready rather than the end product of that present under the tree.
This Christmas, we will turn off the TV and the video games. We will play old card games and board games, crack open the Monopoly and the Cluedo. Maybe, this Christmas, it is time to indoctrinate my wonderful children into the world of Scrabble.
This Christmas will not be of Christmases past or future: this Christmas will be about here and now. Here whilst time is still beatable, whilst cancer is still forgettable and whilst we are all together as a family. There may be dark Christmases ahead where the candles that are lit are lit for those no longer with them, where the dark days herald darker moods, and where my warm arms are no longer there to touch, to hold and to soften. But that is not for this Christmas.
This Christmas, I will love, and be loved. I will show that even when darkness is round the next bend, around that corner at which we dare not look, that this Christmas, we are still and always shall be a family, a family with love, gratitude and warmth at our core.