Last night Al finally went to sleep later in the evening to only wake up at half past midnight. I could not hold my eyes open anymore so when he slept, I laid on the couch. I think my mind shut down immediately.
When he woke up at a much shorter time than my body was hoping for I took care of his needs and then wrote a prompt for Alastair. By then I wasn’t tired, but I went to bed. I don’t know what I watched but I flipped the TV on and saw Hallmark is now letting us view Christmas movies.
Oh Christmas, the word can cause such stress for me. How can that be? Christmas was always a wonderful, sparkly word. Full of thoughts of snowflakes. A time for family to get together and feast on the best foods of all. A time for Christmas dazzles, pretty lights and trees.
A time for play, to forget all of our problems and for this one season take our minds off of ourselves and think of others. Build snowmen, make snow angels, go sledding, have fun.
And then something happens. We get no notice, it just slips in underneath of us and once we realize what happened, the sorrow sets in. I don’t know if it has ever slipped in on you too, but I know it has for me.
I look at all my wonderful memories of the photos above and I rub my chin and squint my eyes and I ask myself, what happened? where did everyone go? where is the laughter?
I feel this way very much this year. There is no Christmas spirit in my house, but our tree is up. There is no snowflakes yet, but my white lights are up. Isn’t it awesome how snowflakes bounce off the reflection of the white lights?
Oh this brings me so much joy, the scenery played out at the holidays. There are no presents under the tree as of yet. My gift I ask for this year has to come from God; to bring peace to the inside of this home. To continue to bring understanding, lots of love, and plenty of compassion. To relieve Al from his suffering and to thank God for sending Jesus into my life. This is my one and only gift and yet no one can buy it for me.
As I sit here waiting for Al to get up I let my mind wander back in time. I listen carefully and I can hear Dad laughing and Mom yelling because the food is not perfect. I can see my Grandfather starting up the 1954 Ford tractor. He is getting ready to pull us behind it on an old truck hood.
I can smell yeast rolls baking and see a big bird cooling on the stove. There are pies at the square folding table. I hear giggles from all of my cousins as they race through the house full of excitement of opening presents later.
I see me in my best Christmas dress; all frilly red with white anklets, black patent leather shoes, and my hand muff, all fluffy white. I can hear Grandfather telling everyone at the table to hold hands and I can remember his words of grace.
I can hear the laughter around the table and glasses clicking, utensils digging into mounds of food and I cry now. I cry for the joy of being able to remember. I cry for what Al and I will not have anymore, and I cry for what is about to happen to our lives.
God is good, God has the perfect plan. I don’t always like it, but I have to follow it because I know he is right. As I sit here wondering about Christmas this year at my house, I know one child that will be here, one child that won’t be here and the other child I won’t know until it gets closer to Christmas.
I realize I am never alone. I have you and God and my children, my health and my memories, and of course today, I still have Al. It is important that I stand tall and brace life knowing I will hit bumps. So in closing I will light my candles, and while waiting for Al to get up, I will play my ultimate favorite Christmas song. Together this will cause a smile to come on my face and I will walk into my brother’s room ready to tackle yet one more day.