Tuesday, 2 December 2014
I've been thinking about death and life a lot this past year. This will probably be my girlfriend's last Christmas; she's not yet fifty. Her and I talked about what would be happening at her house this Christmas. I asked if she needed any help with shopping and she said no, she just wanted to spend time with her family. There isn't any gift that she would rather give or receive than time spent with her family.
I spend all day with people who are often staring death in the face. Some people want to travel but most want only to pull their families tightly around them in a warm embrace. Because of my girlfriend, Christmas has taken on a new meaning this year for me. What if this was my last Christmas? How do I want to spend Christmas? And what was my favorite Christmas?
Five years ago on Christmas Day my husband packed up his bags and left. It's not quite as dramatic as it sounds. He is a pilot and he always packed up his bags and left. The difference this time was that he wasn't coming back, not to live anyway. Of all the days he could have chosen to leave, he chose Christmas Day. It was also three days before Katie was to move out to be cared for by the agency who now cares for her.
Four years ago my soon to be ex-husband came to help me with Katie at the beginning of December . Katie had a dentist appointment and it's a really long day with Katie and the dentist and the drugs. As I was driving to pick up Katie my husband proceeded to have a monumental meltdown in the van. I won't go into details but I did ask him to stay away for Christmas that year. It was the best Christmas I ever had.
Both of my older children were still living with me. Katie and her aide, a young woman who had cared for Katie since she was eleven, joined us for the afternoon and supper. My mum was alive and relatively healthy. My two oldest went to West Edmonton Mall with Katie and her aide; Katie loves the mall. My mum and I cooked supper. The six of us sat down and ate supper together. When Katie was done eating and started to through her food around, I picked up the gingerbread house that her sister had made and set it in front of her. Katie sat quietly, picking candies off of the gingerbread house and eating them. We were able to finish our meal in peace. Katie was happy. It was lovely.
Afterwards while mum and my kids cleaned up, I drove Katie and her aide back home. When I got back the kitchen was clean and we sat down to have dessert and watch a Big Bang marathon. My kids had a few beers and played Janga. My mum knit. The cats sat with us. It was lovely. It was my favorite Christmas ever, even better than the Christmas I got an Easy Bake Oven.
I have no idea what anyone gave me for Christmas that year, nor do I remember what I gave as gifts. What I do remember is sitting in the living room with the people I loved, laughing and eating peppermint cheesecake.
What was your favorite Christmas memory?