In 2015, my aunt gave me a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. I’d mentioned to her, in passing, that I’d always wanted to try it, but didn’t particularly want to splash out over €100 on it. I couldn’t justify €100 on a bottle of champers, no matter how badly I wanted to taste it. So, she gave me a bottle with her blessing and told me to drink up and enjoy!
The Perfect Moment
I waited for the perfect moment to open that big bottle of Dom, but it never came. There was always something that happened that meant the time wasn’t right, or there was something that should have happened that would make the perfect moment but didn’t happen. I tend to obsess over perfect moments, just a bit.
My godmother asked me, a couple of years later, if I’d opened the champagne and I, embarrassed, told her I hadn’t because I’d been waiting for the right time. Her advice to me was “Maybe just open it.” Which, looking back, was characteristic of my aunt – seize the day, enjoy life! How it should be done.
Last Christmas (2020), my godmother became very ill, having been diagnosed with cancer earlier that year. We had planned that she would come to the house for Christmas dinner, and I told her that I was opening that bottle of Dom Perignon when she got here, come hell or high water.
My mother, who was in poor health also, had come home in February that year (after a month in the ICU in CUH), and with both of them here for Christmas, it seemed like, finally, a very good time to share the bottle, and to celebrate happy moments, such as the time we all went to Marbella for a week’s holiday together.
Sadly, my godmother’s health deteriorated and she was unable to travel to us for Christmas dinner. Covid restrictions and the fear of infection meant that we couldn’t travel to her either. The Christmas dinner which was once a boisterous affair with ten of us seated around the table, was now a much smaller get together. The champagne lay at the back of a press, forgotten about.
My beautiful godmother died in January. Not six months later, my beloved mother, after battling illness for so long, breathed her last, and went to join her sister with the angels.
There’s no doubt about it. 2020 wasn’t a great year (I had crashed my car, we had another death in the family, my mother had been in ICU, my father’s health took a turn) but 2021 had been a real shit show. I’m not going to apologise for saying that. It’s been traumatic. My father’s health took another turn this year. It’s been a very hard year for him.
And, my dog died. She didn’t just die. She had a tumour and was in pain and had taken to hiding in a corner for most of the day, and I had to make the decision to end her 14 year old doggie life, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I ended the life of my most faithful friend. I miss her. And some days, I still come home with the grocery shopping and get ready to block her attempt to escape out the front door.
The Moral of the Story
For years, I stockpiled fancy soaps gifted to me by family and friends, beautifully carved, scented candles, luxury shampoo stolen from upmarket hotels (up until last year, I had a bottle of shampoo from our honeymoon in 2005) with the promise to myself that I would keep these beautiful things for “special occasions”. The bottle of champers was added to this collection of ‘stuff’ too. (Just what the special occasions were that I was waiting on, I really don’t know.)
But the scent from the soaps fades, the shampoo begins to smell of the plastic bottle it’s stored in, and perfume goes off. So I started to use them all.
And tonight, while I was out in the utility room, I opened up the drinks cabinet (which is what I like to call the press from the old 1980s kitchen that I store tins of fizzy drinks and a few bottles of drink in), and removed the bottle of DP from it’s hiding place.
And I’ve put it on the mantle piece so that tomorrow night it won’t be forgotten about, and I’ll open it, finally. And, I’ll probably cry bucket loads, but I’ll raise a glass (or several because I’ll be the only one drinking it) to those who should have been here this New Year’s but aren’t.
And, I’ll pass on the advice that my aunt gave me. If you’ve a bottle of wine that you’ve been holding onto, or a special candle that you can’t bring yourself to use, or a bottle of perfume that’s going to go off, or a bar of fancy soap that’s been sitting on a shelf as a decoration….. “Maybe just open it”.
Happy New Year to you all! Blessings for 2022!
Rules to Live By.
Live Life! Seize the moment!
Just do it. Too much thinking is offputting.
It’s never too late for a new adventure.
If you’ve failed, you’ve succeeded in trying. You’re still a step ahead of where you were yesterday.
Be kind to others. There isn’t a single person who’s not struggling.
Practise the pause. Walk away if you have to.
Other people’s grass is only greener if you keep looking at it.