This is supposed to be the cheerful time of year. The expected Merry Christmas greeting and salutation is given.
For me it is not so easy. Actually it is pretty hard. A decade ago my mother collapsed in the house at thanksgiving. A trip to the doctors and she was not stabilizing so she was rushed to the bigger hospitals in the city. After a month had gone by and we were well into November a decision was made to remove the growth in her head. It was cancer.
She recovered in the hospital and was home for that final Christmas but barely. There was no tree. No gifts as we had all been back and forth to the hospital so many times our monthly incomes were barely covering our parking costs. Friends and extended family brought over food. One restaurant that my parents had been going to with a local car group donated three large, and I mean large about 3 feet long and 2 feet wide, trays of lasagna to us. Tasted awful but that was our meals for three weeks.
(sorry hard to write about this)
The day our mother was to come home we rushed to put up all of her Christmas decorations for her. My sister and I were still decorating the tree as my father drove into the driveway with mom in the passenger seat. My former mother, while always practical in her wardrobe, was thin. Her once long shiny hair was flat and shaved bald on one side. The wheelchair was pulled into the house with her trying to mumble and cry as she saw the decorations. She was completely aware of us but she had a hard time speaking. We gave her the few gifts we could afford and she was quite happy. We all were, my sister and myself crying buckets when she wasn't looking.
The Christmas music played with all her favorites. This time of year was always my mom's favorite and she always made it special. We had visitors everyday or we went to family gatherings at rented halls where she was able to move around and see everyone. It was the hardest Christmas ever. Just about all the women were holding back tears as they got to see my mom. I didn't realize it but she had somehow impacted on all my relatives and family friends. Each was hurt to see this once vibrant woman so confined to a wheelchair. Even more so because of cancer.
I lost the job I had at the time because I needed to spend the time with my mother. While everyone worked I would help my mom. Although I was not supposed to I had her peel potatoes. It exhausted her but I could tell that being useful made her happy. Slowly time passed and my mom recovered enough to be mobile walking around and going to visit many of our friends with my father. They told her that after her last chemo treatment it was gone. However I later found out this was a lie. She started to get sicker and tired more and more. By may of the next year she could no longer even recognize any of us. Still she fought day after day for her life.
It was 11:15 pm July 29 when her body gave out on her. We were all holding her hands as the last bit of life left her. My one person that I could always run to or talk to was gone. It took me two weeks to cry. When I did I couldn't stop for hours. I slept there on her grave a few times because I missed her so much. I didn't want her to go. I couldn't let her go I was not ready.
The rest of the year was a dark blur. Birthdays passed, as did thanksgiving. Time flew by and Christmas came again. We tried but every song, every decoration, every passing greeting reminded me so much of my mother I would gush tears. My barely healed wound was torn open anew.
It has been 12 years now and every year the songs, the closeness, the atmosphere reminds me anew of what I have torn from me. My wound is opened anew each year and it wont heal. I cannot describe just how much I hurt. I feel cold in a place that was once so full of warmth of her love. When I most need her hugs they are not there. The small things I would have asked her opinion on haunt me without answers. Every meal that I had learned from her just for the season brings the memories I cannot forget.
I know I should feel joy, happiness and remember the good times but all I see is my mother's heart monitor flatline while her hand goes cold. I cannot get that out it comes every year at this time. And every year the pain of the loss is renewed. I hide it and give out the wishes in public. But in private my dreams are filled with the last moments of her life and I wake up with red eyes and a soaked pillow.
I see the holiday cheers, the merrymaking, the family gatherings were people smile, the decorations, the lights, but everything has no color, no depth and no life. To me that all was a part of my mother who made it all come alive.
I try to hide my pain and not lash out at others but there is so much that some spills out. If I offend people it is not my intention at all and believe me when I say that I really and truly and deeply sorry.
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