We have had a busy holiday season. We moved a few weeks ago, and have been busy unpacking afterwards. We've had multiple installers and repairmen in and out of the house every week. There have been shipments of my medicine and syringes each week, and doctors visits. And, we've had visits from the power chair company to measure doorways and such. We have waited patiently for the chair, so we could go shopping... I love Christmas shopping! It is not easy, or fun for that matter, shopping by phone for gifts for children. My son is very helpful with that, because he goes inside and sends me out cell phone pics of various items for me to choose what I want. But, that is not the thing to do for Christmas shopping. So, we eagerly waited for the power chair.
My husband's Mom passed away this morning. It was not a sudden loss, but a slow passing, as if taking the stairs slowly from this world to the next; the stairway to heaven. She died of cirrhosis of the liver, and it was a slow and painful, children-watching-by-your-bedside-vigil passing in the home of her eldest daughter. My husband had returned on the first morning of his vacation, Saturday, and stayed all night with his brother and sisters there with her. I was here at home, the first night without Larry since we were married. When he came home Sunday night, we talked until the early hours of the morning before finally falling asleep. Just before daybreak, we got a call saying her pulse had dropped. And then... within the hour another saying she had gone. It reminded me of something forgotten... olvidado... a child in a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale who died on New Year's Eve.
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If you've read the lovely picture book version, all the better. Otherwise, this is the best video I can find online. It is the book version read aloud by someone on YouTube, and has only the one picture you see, which is from the book cover in a copy I have. I wish it had all the pictures.
I read her story aloud to my students every year for the last 21 years, and thinking of her today, she reminded me of the other things that have not been a part of this Christmas, which are usually a part of all my Christmases past: wassail, caroling, John Chrysostom readings, light-seeing trips, mistletoe, and extended family. I made it to the mall Friday to pick up a gift for each of us, only to find there is no toy store in the mall. So, the trip back tonight was to toys r us for our nephews and niece. Walmart was closed by the time we got there, so we didn't get the fixings we needed for Christmas dinner, after all the hassle with the power chair :) This is no problem, as we will revert to the catering option we used for Thanksgiving in the middle of moving. Oddly enough, it has been the loveliest of Christmas Eves, with the warmth of companionship amidst shared tears and laughter. After all, tears differ from laughter because they are like mirrors through which we see, not our own face reflected back, but the reflected glory of God in the souls of the ones we love.