Exactly 50 years ago, as a geeky teenager I bought my mum a candle for Christmas. It was quite ugly but for some reason she particularly treasured it. She never lit it, and it always had pride of place on her mantlepiece until she died in 2015.
At the weekend, I mistakenly brought a box of her stuff out of storage and found the candle. I put it on my desk, I don’t know why.
A dear friend of mine lost his father to Covid last week. His grief is raw. On hearing the news, spontaneously I reached out and lit the candle for the first time after all these years. These past few days it has burned beside me whilst I’ve been at work, and I’ve found it hugely comforting.
I still don’t quite know what prompted me to light it. But the past few months have perhaps unsettled us all, including myself, more than we recognise or acknowledge. So many families have already unexpectedly and cruelly lost loved ones in a crisis which is far from over yet.
I’m not a religious man nor the slightest bit superstitious, but please allow me the notion that my mother was saving this candle till now and bid me fetch it and light it for us all as we approach Christmas. It’s the sort of thing she’d have done.
Please take care over Christmas, everyone. These are very strange times.
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Thank you for reading my blogs. I’m getting quite old now, and hopefully I’m a little wiser than I once was. I have enjoyed a fascinating career full of fascinating people, and made many great friendships. I’ve made huge errors in my lifetime, and enjoyed great success too – it’s been the ultimate game of snakes and ladders - up and down, round and round. It is my privilege to share some of my stories with you, and describe some of the lessons I’ve learned in the hope that it may both save you from falling into the same holes, and help you in your careers and lives. Good luck and good fortune.