It was Christmas four years ago, and my mom comes to live with me as she prepares for assisted living. She leaves her home of forty years, not wanting to be here. Soon, I realize she is not ready for assisted living. I spend the night Christmas Eve with her at the assisted living home. She has sundowners; the room is blazing hot, unfamiliar. We sleep; finally, I think. She’s up, and I’m startled; she falls. Nothing is broken, but she hurts. Off to the hospital, she is in pain, her COPD kicks in, her rheumatic heart flutters, but she is stable. We have a wonderful Christmas dinner the next day. It was baked chicken, warm roll, creamed potatoes. It was her last meal, and we had it together. Three weeks later she dies with me there. She was ready.
It was Christmas three years ago; my husband and I enjoyed a Christmas with each other. My son moved to South Korea to teach English and my daughter, grandson and her new husband move to Denver.
It was Christmas a year ago, my husband broke both legs in October, and his mother is in the nursing home, dying. I spend my days taking care of him. When he is settled, I relieve his sister. I arrive around seven. It is quiet in the nursing home as nurses check on patience and give the last round of medicine. I help the nurse turn Nana. Nana had a mini stroke a few days before Christmas. When it was still for the evening, I’d sing old church hymns. She is not improving. She dies with me there.
It is Christmas this year. Our pastor’s wife died with Covid related issues. Their daughter is still in the ICU. She is finally improving. My best friend’s father died two days ago. His graveside services are Sunday. I have lost family and friends this year over political issues. Because I stand against abortion, alternative lifestyles, two genders only, and I am judge or seen as unfit. God’s word is true for everyone. Jesus is the plumb line. “Behold I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people…” Amos 7:8 God may be pruning the branches and removing the dead and chaff from my life. Sadness is a part of loss but hope always springs eternal.
The New Year will start. My son and his new wife will visit us from South Korea. Their reception is in February. Hope, faith, and love will remain in every season, as will our memories. New beginnings intertwine in our life as some leave us, and others join in.