Four years ago yesterday, I drove my confused, frightened
and delirious mother to our local emergency hoping to for a simple cure for her
strange behaviours and the sudden change in her personality. Mom never came
back home to live with us again. As you know if you’ve read our story after a
very rocky road, she settled into a wonderful long term care home in our town.
No other time of year do I feel the pain of this experience
greater than at Christmas. It isn’t only that we lost the wholeness of my
mother, her support, stories and presence, but also, we lost our foundation.
The family home was sold, traditions were lost, memories could no longer be
shared – in many ways I felt like Christmas as I had known it was lost too.
For four years, I have found Christmas a sad time – a time
when the loss of my mom’s wholeness and the loss of other loved ones like my father
and in-laws was so strong it made my heart ache. Putting up the Christmas tree
was something that brought tears to my eyes. Buying Christmas presents and
preparing for the family meal felt more like a chore than a joy.
But this year, I noticed the healing is happening. There is
a little warmth and hope returning. It isn’t everything I want for Mom, but I
can enjoy taking part in the parties at her long term care home without wishing
and regretting she could be home with us. New traditions have replaced old
ones, babies have been born – nieces and nephews and best of all a new
grandbaby for me.
I guess my mom herself likely walked this journey when her
own parents and loved ones passed on and she became the mother and not the
daughter. She knew what I know today – that life goes on and even with all the
changes there is still beauty to be discovered even in the pain.
Wherever you are in your journey, whether you are surrounded
by the grief and loss, enjoying the moments or just beginning to see the light
again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!