From all corners of the country, be it car, train, bus or in one case by plane from the US, we converged at the Westin Hotel to sing for #txs2 (#twitterxmassingle). The twitter gathering came about in 2011 when Brenda Drumm tweeted ‘wouldn’t it be great if we made a twitter Christmas single’. Little did she realise what she had unleashed. Last year 140 people turned up to sing Winter Song to raise funds for the neo-natal unit in Holles Street.
On Sunday 11th November, in response to Brenda’s #txs2 tweet, we came together to sing Holding on for Christmas which is an original song written by Ian Callanan, Brenda Drumm, Gavin Byrne and Alan Chadwick. This year the charity of choice is Console, an organisation that resonates with me on a personal level.
|Ciaran speaking on behalf of Console at #txs2|
Since my teenage years, Christmas has been an ambivalent time of year. I have tried to feel the spirit of Christmas, to capture its joy and sense of goodwill and I have wanted to enjoy it but somehow it has always eluded me. In The two realities of Christmas I discuss both the joy of Christmas and its capacity to heighten one’s grief. What I did not share at that time was the manner in which my sister died; she opted for suicide. It was devastating. Suicide is not something that you can get over or ‘forget about’. It is life altering and life changing. The world stopped when I was told my sister had ended her life and I thought the emotional agony would never end but it does.
For the first year after her death I used wine to try and escape the grief until I went to my doctor with a hand rendered useless from extreme eczema. Knowing my circumstances, she threw me a life line when she suggested counselling and I grabbed it with both hands. The counselling saved my sanity and enabled me to come to terms with my sister’s suicide. Whilst grief still takes me by surprise from time to time, I accept that she is gone and I am at peace with her decision. I now have something else to counteract my loss; I can reflect upon #txs2 and know that I was part of something good, something that benefits others who have lost loved ones to suicide. As an aside I believe I finally get what Christmas is about.
I feel I have I experienced the central tenet of Christmas which is the spread of goodwill. Yesterday I had the opportunity to share my own piece of goodwill by singing with a community of twitterers. I felt good being part of something so spontaneous, organic and mad cap with the flashing Santa hats, the seriously uncool but lovely Christmas jumpers and the all round good banter. We participated in the Christmas spirit of giving, singing and doing something for a higher cause and it feels wonderful.
|Brenda Drumm in her groovy Christmas glasses|
There is only four weeks until Holding on for Christmas is launched at the Westin on the 9th December. It will be available for download after that date from I-tunes, etc and more details can be found on the twitterxmassingleblog, Facebook or following the twitter hastag #txs2. So only 27 days and counting before we get to hear the final cut.
Thank you so much for sharing this. It really was a magical day. You are right - Christmas can be a tough time for some, but hopefully those who hear 'Holding on for Christmas' will hear the smiles in our voices as we sang our hearts out yesterday for a cause also close to my heart unfortunately. There is barely a family at the moment who has not been touched by the numbness of suicide, but yes, while the grief is still there at times, and the awful numbness that comes with it, days like yesterday remind us that there really are wonderful people who will be there to help. Glad you were there to feel the Christmas magic - and experience the jumpers too!!!ReplyDelete
Thank you Anne marie for your lovely comments and sharing your experience. I felt yesterday was very positive and it was great fun too. I agree that probably most if not all families in Ireland have felt the impact of suicide. It is great that there are charities like console raising awareness and supporting those who feel suicidal or those bereaved from it.Delete
A lovely heartfelt piece, looking forward to hearing the song!ReplyDelete
Thanks for that Niall.ReplyDelete
With regards to the song, well I am biased so suffice to say it's brilliant. Roll on the launch date of 9th December.
A very good cause, like others have said there have been so many families hit by suicide. Maybe the love and joy felt in this song will help people to forgive others and look at the true meaning of Christmas. Look forward to hearing the song..ReplyDelete
Thanks, I must admit I am counting down the days until we can all hear the song.Delete
Hi Helen, thanks for this, a lovely moving post. xx MagsReplyDelete