Bittersweet Christmas

#angelsmile #WINGS #christmascovered

My favorite holiday, my favorite season. I love everything about it, especially since it’s Jesus’ birthday celebration. When my kids were young, I always baked Him a birthday cake.

Mourning influences my thoughts and mood this Christmas. Not just because the cake is now a gluten-free, and sugar-free pie or cookie. Mom is on hospice and I’m waiting for the inevitable. I’m not good at waiting. It’s exhausting. I’m constantly watching the monitor, listening, and going into her room. Her coughing wakes me up and I give her medicine. She doesn’t remember in the morning.

“Hi Mom, do you need anything?” I scan her bedside tray table and stand next to her bed. I stroke her downy, soft white hair. “Are you warm enough?”

Mom sits in bed dressed in her flannel pajamas, shrugs and smiles, “I can’t think of anything. I’m fine.” I’m not. She’s unaware of her illness, mostly. She forgets why she is in bed, and why she coughs. Explaining details repeatedly doesn’t help her remember. Mom raises her hands, “I feel great!” But I know the clock is ticking.

Hubby and I are cleaning out our storage to help our budget. I find the table-top tree, previously assembled with lights, and decide to set it up without the Christmas spirit. My mood climbs until I remember Mom can’t see it, and my lighter mood evaporates. More tubs to purge. A rustle here, and crinkle there, and I unwrap all the Christmas ornaments Mom and I created or purchased in the past decades. I separate them into boxes for give away, donate, or keep. The memories of who I was with when I purchased it, the craft time with a friend, or which child I made it for lift my mood again—Oh! My tree-topper star…I forgot about it. It’s for a regular-sized tree, but I have an idea.

“Hey, Mom. How would you like a star on your floor lamp? A lamp-tree.” I push the iridescent, plastic star’s spring over the metal finial atop her lamp shade, then plug in the cord.

“Oh, that’s pretty! I like that. Even when it’s not lit it sparkles.”

My mood soars. I hang a small wooden sled, and a snowman on her metal lamp’s arms. Mom smiles and thanks me again when I put up festive window clings for her to enjoy.

The last few ornaments I unwrap are the perfect size for our little tree. What’s in this white tissue paper? Light as a feather. I tear up. White angel wings. Mom and I found them years ago on a shopping trip with Sis when we would spend Saturdays together to shop and have lunch. Those memories play in my thoughts for a while. I stroke the light and downy wings before I hang them on the tree and gulp down tears. Angels.

Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly through the night, and the mountains in reply, echoing their brave delight… (Angels We Have Heard on High). 

Mom will be joyful when she sings with those angels.




One Comment Add yours

  1. Sweetly vulnerable, courageous, and well written!


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