Bittersweet Christmas

#angelsmile #WINGS #christmascovered

Christmas, my favorite holiday and 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, and we sang the birthday tune.

This year, my Christmas thoughts and mood are influenced with mourning. Not only because the cake is now a gluten-free, and sugar-free pie or cookie. My mom was placed on hospice and I waited for the inevitable. I’m not good at waiting. It’s exhausting. I constantly watched the monitor, listened, and peeked into her room. Her cough often woke me and I gave her medicine. She didn’t remember that in the morning.


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

Mom sat in bed dressed in her flannel pajamas, shrugged and smiled, “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 raised her hands, “I feel great!” But I know the clock ticks.

Hubby and I cleaned out our storage to help our budget by saving the rental fee. I found the table-top Christmas tree, previously assembled with lights, and decided to set it up without the Christmas spirit. My mood rose, until I remembered Mom can’t see it, and my lighter mood evaporated. More tubs to purge.

I crinkled tissue here, and rustled packaging there, so all of the Christmas ornaments Mom and I created or purchased in the past decades were unwrapped. I separated them into boxes for give away, donate, or keep. The memories of what age and who I was with when I purchased it—the craft time with a friend, or which child I made it for lifted my mood again—Oh! My tree-topper star…I forgot about it. It’s for a regular-sized tree, but I had an idea.

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

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

My mood soared. I hung a small wooden sled, and a snowman on her metal, floor lamp’s arms. Mom smiled and thanked me again while I stuck festive window clings on her large window for her to enjoy.

The last few ornaments I unwrapped were the perfect size for our little tree. What’s in this white tissue paper? Light as a feather. I teared 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 played in my thoughts for a while. I stroke the light and downy wings before I hung them on the tree and gulped 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 grateful and joyful when she sings with those angels.



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