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.