December 8, 2008
A Warm Christmas Memory
I was thinking recently about my favorite Christmas memories. Probably my fondest memory of Christmas is not in anyway connected to gifts I received or carols I sung or candy I ate. In fact, it should have been a sad Christmas. My family was dealing with the new and frightening reality that it was going to be my Grandmother's last Christmas. From here on out I will refer to her As Grammie because that is how she was known and I really can't call her anything else. Some of the family decided to live in denial, that's how they dealt with it. But for many of us, we embraced this Christmas as an opportunity to enjoy Christmas one last time with this loved matriarch. We listened with interest to Grammie's stories, which in the past were too long and too uninteresting to bother with. We showered her with gifts. What do you get a person facing a terminal illness? As I look back on that Christmas, the gifts we gave Grammie were our way of hugging her through through the tough months that lay ahead of her. A wool blanket for Grammie's legs, a down robe and down slippers to keep her frail body warm, soft caps for her head to cover the evidience of her treatments, all gifts to keep her as comfortable as we could, even when we weren't there. Four months later, as I visited with my Grammie for the last time, she was embraced by the hugs of the entire family. It was a warm afternoon, but Grammie, who was not much more than her skeleton, was bundled in her down robe, down slippers and wool blanket. Days later, it was in those hugs that she passed. Surrounded by family.