It’s been a somewhat trying crappy week here at Casa Nancy. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday — indeed, my favorite time of the year, hands down. I’ve always been a “Christmas nut” and have never found holiday preparations a chore, but have consistently taken great joy in the decorating, baking, wrapping, music, etc. that is Christmas. This year? Not so much.
Though Charlie’s Dad sailed through his surgery, he’s had some setbacks along the way — difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and heart rate, inability to eat, etc. All things that I’m sure will be rectified in time, but setbacks, just the same. Hope of him being home for Christmas has all but faded, although if he continues to make progress, he may be moved from the city to our local hospital to finish his recuperation. That’s been an ongoing concern and has been a tiring few weeks for Charlie and his Mom especially, as they make regular trips to and from the city. However, we are all grateful that the surgery is done.
The day after Charlie’s Dad had his surgery, my younger daughter called with devastating news. A young friend that was to join her to watch a hockey game after work, died of a brain aneurysm that morning. She had just celebrated her 18th birthday. We were all shocked, and greatly saddened for her family. That’s the sort of thing that leaves you completely stymied — I don’t get it, and never will.
Today, when I was talking to the same daughter, she told me that she had had a call from her Dad (my ex husband) to tell her that his wife of three years had had a seizure at work and a scan had revealed several tumors on her brain. He didn’t know much more than that as they wait for more test results, but I can only imagine how heavy their hearts must be tonight. She’s a lovely woman with two daughters of her own and a brand new grandchild.
So, through all this, I’ve plodded forward, going through the motions of putting up a tree, scattering decorations around the apartment, and making lists with little enthusiasm, all the time wondering how you rescue a Christmas that has so much sadness attached to it.
One thing about it, news such as this quickly hammers home one point: no matter how bad you think you have it, there’s always someone else who is going through something worse than you are. Of course, we all know this. But sometimes it takes having it tossed in your face to really get it.
I’m sure the answer is simplicity. Simplifying plans…reducing events to their minimum while concentrating on celebrating the relationships we hold dear. The year my Dad had his stroke, he was in hospital and/or rehab from the end of October to December 14. My Mom, exhausted from the almost daily trips to and from the city, had declared that Christmas would be “whatever it turned out to be” that year. She put out a few decorations and made plans for the usual Christmas dinner, but gifts were checks inserted in cards, baking was bought for the first time in memory, and we all had a much more relaxed attitude about the holidays that year. The big thing was that my Dad was coming home. As simple as that. And it was one of the nicest Christmases I can remember.
Bad things do happen to good people…and good Christmases. While we wait for news from those who are facing uncertainties in the days ahead, I’ll be doubly sure to voice my gratitude for healthy daughters and grandchild, for safe travel, and for the gathering of family and friends this holiday season. After all, that is Christmas.