The Last Christmas

Christmas is most definately the most wonderful time of the year for me, even if it is bittersweet.  I usually feel a mixture of elation and depression.  It’s very strange.  I think about my mother so much.  I wish we had more time to mold Christmas traditions, but she was sick most of my young years.  I think about the things she would have done with us and try to follow through on making my own traditions with my daughter.  We bake cookies, read special Christmas stories, decorate the tree together, and listen to Christmas music.  All things I know my mother would have loved, and we in turn, love it too.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past couple of days about my last Christmas before my mother died.  She had colon cancer and died on January 4, 1986.  My father knew it would be our last Christmas together, but my sister and I, of course, didn’t.  Being 3 and 6 years old respectively, we were children who knew that something was very wrong, but definately not the gravity of it.

My father wanted to make it the best possible Christmas.  Knowing it would be last time my mother would see the light in our eyes when we opened our presents, he went all out.  I remember waking up Christmas morning and our living room from one end to the other was literally filled with gifts for my sister and I.  I was into Barbie’s and there was a huge barbie house that my father had put together the night before.  It was almost as tall as the tree itself.

My mother, who was in her last days, laid on the couch, her eyes yellow from jaundice, and so skinny she looked like a skeleton of herself.  She watched us open all the presents with a slight smile on her face, commenting from time to time.  I remember making sure I was sitting right in front of her so she could see it all.

Less than 5 days later, she went to the hospital for the last time.  I realize now how important that Christmas was to all of us.  I tend to think that she held on through the holidays just to see her girls so happy one last time.  The previous months had not been happy for any of us with her deterioration, but that Christmas morning, we were whole and happy again. 

I will always think back on that Christmas with joy and sorrow and be thankful that these memories are still so vivid.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. some people just hide in plain sight
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 13:18:30

    This post is heart-breaking.


  2. kate1975
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 00:20:03

    I’m so sorry for your loss. And glad that you had that Christmas together.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.



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