I remember the tiny tree with the miniature decorations sat on the bedside table in her room and the sparkly lights reflecting off the wall. She’d asked to come here, to leave home, and it tore my Dad apart. She had been home such a short period of time. He wanted her to be home so badly. Home for Christmas. Home for good.
She had decided to go back to the hospital because she was too sick and in too much pain. It was devastating for Dad because even though we didn’t want to think about it, we knew that it meant that she wouldn’t be coming home again.
She loved the little tree and having family around, getting to spend the last real quality time that we were able to with her. That was so long ago and the snippets that I still remember about that time with her in the hospital are dear to me.
I find that I struggle to remember the bits and pieces of her from when I was growing up.
I remember her laugh and the way she sung me to sleep at night when I was a little girl. And the big, orange metal bread box that was full of construction paper and glitter and glue that she would haul out every Christmas. We would make paper ornaments, some of which I still have, and put glitter on everything.
I loved how we would stay up late at night talking and playing Rummy and then sneak out to go to Denny’s for breakfast at 2 in the morning. These are times I recall and they make my throat close up, choke up, tears to my eyes. Precious times.
Mom always loved going home for Christmas and home for her was Seattle. No matter where we lived in the US, if we could manage to get back to Seattle for Christmas we would do it. She impressed the feeling of HOME on me at such a young age that now I insist on being home for Christmas too, but home is where I live.
I just have this deep longing to be home with family gathered this time of year.
I lost my Mom when I was 5 months pregnant with my youngest daughter (now 24). She was only 44 and I was 22 and at the height of desperate need to have my Mom’s influence and support in my life.
And even though she was taken so young, her influence continues today.
Moms, you create lives and you touch lifetimes.
May you never surrender time with your kids in lieu of false replacements for a relationship. These crazy days and those long nights don’t last forever. Get out the glitter and the glue and the decks of cards and the seemingly endless board games and bake and laugh and make memories with your kids.
The image of tiny lights sparkling on the wall of a hospital room, lighting the sparkle in her eyes, is precious to me. I miss her so much.
It’s these little things, precious memories, that will carry them later.