Thursday, December 26, 2013
One last Christmas
Laying next to my mother, listening to her shallow breathing, I felt a small flutter with in my womb. I knew I carried life inside of me and was over joyed with the very thought. It was just a few days before Christmas, and I wanted desperately to share my joyful news with her. It had been days since we had even seen her beautiful hazel eyes open, or flutter once. The Hospice team had alerted us as her time to leave us draws near we would notice changes in her. Within the last several days she had become almost unresponsive to our touch and movement around her. Needing to feel her presence more I snuggled in closer, to her warm motionless body. She had grown so fragile since the cancer had taken over. I felt as though my own petite size was almost amazon next to her.
I was expecting my second child and was not yet showing, but the fatigue and morning sickness were a daily reminder to me of my own present delicate condition. Laying my head next to where my Mother rested hers, I watched my first born as he danced around her bedroom, excitedly singing Christmas carols with all the sweetness of his young voice. It brought me great joy that the spirit of Christmas bubbled with in him. I embraced this opportunity to rest and be entertained. Wishing ardently to be absorbed into the joy this magical season brought to him. I was just nearing the end of my first trimester. Fear, left behind after a miscarriage in a previous pregnancy cautioned me in the timing of my announcement, that I was indeed with child. I smiled as my eyes followed Zach my then three year old first born, as he happily moved around the room. His innocence and joy almost illuminating. He did not question anymore why Grandma slept constantly. Almost as though he simply accepted that things were what they were and that was fine. All he knew was that it was getting closer to Santa's coming, and that gave him reason to celebrate. My news that he would be a big brother could wait for another time. A time when we could embrace life together.
Zach slowly disappeared to gather up some more furry stuff animals to join in his celebration. I seized the moment to then softly whisper to my Mom, I was expecting. She laid silently next to me. I snuggled even closer. Hoping to have some sign she had heard me. She never responded. I may never know whether she actually heard me, but just knowing I was given the chance to tell her filled me with a sort of teary peace.
The advent season is once again amongst us. As I begin to prepare for another Christmas season with my family I find myself recalling more recently passed holiday seasons that have also presented me with a few challenging heartfelt moments. Moments that at times left me feeling lost in fear and sorrow. Clinging to hope and prayer. It was just 2 Christmases ago when my two oldest sons both became ill and had to be hospitalized. First my eldest son Zach contracted a very serious case of bacterial Meningitis. The days that he spent in ICU fighting for his life is etched in my memory for ever . As we watched Zach slowly become stable enough to be moved from ICU to a hospital room my second son Cody became ill with a virus and was also admitted to the same hospital for treatment. They both recovered in time to celebrate Christmas at home.
Today all my sons continue to be doing amazingly well. While Zach has recovered remarkably, Duchennes symptoms have progressed considerably, in Cody and also my youngest son Josiah. But even with that, for now, I happily can claim they all continue to thrive. Even with all the challenges that Cody and Josiah are faced with daily. But as I recall those special holidays I am flooded once again with emotion. No longer a sadness dwelling in me. But now, a realization of how precious memories are and how triumphant love is. I am still reminded of the fear that swept over me as I searched inward years ago to find courage, to be the strength that was needed of me for my family. During those extreme times that demanded so much from me, also came some very real self examining of my life, hopes, and needs.
We did manage to celebrate Christmas 20 years ago for the last time with my Mother. Gathered around her bed, we all sat softly singing Christmas carols through quiet tears. We took turns opening up small gifts in an effort to maintain the ritual of giving, for our children's sake. Its a Christmas I will always cherish, a time very close to my heart and a time that I turn back too from time to time when I am in a difficult place. A special time when I relied heavily on love and hope to help me move past my pain. A time that I shared with my amazing sisters. A time where we were given the gift to spend one last Christmas with our mother together. My mother never regained consciousness and passed away three days later. Just as she took her last breath a single tear rolled slowly down her cheek. She held on for those last days we know for us. To give us a gift, one last Christmas together. Yes, Christmas is a most magical time. A time for giving and loving and making memories. A special time to tell the ones you hold dear in your heart that you love them. A season that gives us hope and the chance to rejoice with LOVE. Love, Peace and Joy to you all this Holiday Season .