No place like home for the holidays
You know, I thought I was gonna be okay with it. But, it suddenly hit me this past Tuesday morning - I'm not.
I'm talking about Christmas. And about how my mother died last Christmas Day. My mother truly enjoyed the Christmas season. She especially loved all the holiday musical specials and even the cartoon specials like Rudolph and Charlie Brown and the Grinch. If I would call out to her that they were on, she would come sit with me in the living room and watch them with me.
Christmas at my mother's house meant a front door wrapped in red, green or gold foil with a green wreath and a big, red bow; it meant homemade chocolate fudge and what she called "seafoam" candy. It meant a turkey roasting all night long in the oven, and stockings and Christmas cards hung above the hallway door frame. Christmas from my mother's hands meant presents wrapped in Francis Dept. Store's gay holiday paper, as well as last minute preparations and excitement in anticipation of my older sister's return home for the holidays. It also meant that my Grandma Lulie, my mother's mother-in-law, would be arriving at our house for a three or four day stay that included Christmas morning.
Though every now and then, my mother would grumble about money or about how my dad would always want ham instead of turkey for Christmas dinner (the family vote always meant a turkey in the oven, however) or about how about the days were slipping away and there was still much to be done, my mother truly did enjoy the Christmas holidays.
Last year, as I said before, my mother died on Christmas Day. My children and I spent our Christmas Eve in the intensive care unit at Paul B. Hall Medical Center, waiting by her bedside for the inevitable.
The day following Christmas, I was traveling to the funeral home to make final arrangements when the song, "I'll be Home for Christmas" came over the radio. Emotions overtook me and the tears began to roll down my cheeks. My mother, who had spent the last eight years of her life suffering from the clutches of Alzheimer's Disease, had spent those same last years repeating over and over what she believed was a simple request - "I want to go home."
Home she finally was and I was going to miss her. I still do.