These past few weeks leading up to Christmas have been a roller coaster
of emotions for me. Some days I do quite well ~ better than I
expected. On other days I just don't even feel like getting out of bed.
Hospice of South Texas checks up on me offering me support. I know
that the wide range of emotions I am experiencing are normal.
A few days ago I ran into someone who asked me about
my Mom. She had not heard that Mom had passed away.
It was all I could do to hold back the tears because once
they start to flow they seem impossible to stop.
I am getting ready to decorate the big Christmas tree in the living
room. In the past, decorating the tree has been such a joy.
Every ornament brought back many happy memories. This
year I have all of my own ornaments but I also have all of the
ones that belonged to Mom and Daddy. Opening this large
box of carefully and lovingly packed ornaments has been
bittersweet. Mom died about six weeks after packing away
these ornaments last year. The first Christmas without her ~
the fifth one without Daddy.
Yet I am also finding some comfort in the familiar. Things that
have been treasured for a few years and those loved for so many.
Memories so precious and filled with the voices and images of
loved ones. I don't think that there is any other time of year that
so filled with the past as is this time.
Yesterday when I shared photos of the tree in my studio, a reader
asked me about the little lamb on my tree that I treasure. So
in response to that request, here is the back story.
When I was a little girl, I became very ill with pneumonia. I was
hospitalized and when I reached the crisis stage of the illness, the
doctors let my parents know that they were giving up hope. I
remember the experience quite well. I floated up above my little
body and saw my parents and the doctors below. I did not know
why they were worried because I felt fine but could not communicate
that message to them.
Well, obviously I pulled through. However, the idea of almost losing
their only child who was conceived after many years of a childless
marriage was terrifying to them. My mother was now old enough
that no other children would be born. She had also experienced
the loss of her own older sister and brother to illness while she
was a young girl and this early knowledge of death was very
real to her.
As a consequence, she became what her friends said was
"over protective". Every sneeze, every little cough became
a national emergency. I missed going to lots of movies
and outings that all kids love because of the potential for
catching some kind of bug. Crowds were strictly off limit. I
spent lots of time at home with my little Scottie dog and my
dolls and toys.
I longed to be like the other kids in my school and my
neighborhood but understood that the freedom I would
have to participate in these activities would be limited.
As a consequence, any time I did get to join in on any
adventures became especially meaningful to me.
The Christmas season was a particularly guarded one because
Mom never wanted me to be sick for the holidays. But one year
she took me along with a couple of friends to a Christmas
pageant at a nearby church. I was incredibly happy that day to
be with my friends and be in a roomful of other kids. It was
truly a high point in my young life.
There was a Christmas bazaar following the pageant and my Mom
and some of her friends were shopping for gifts. Mom gave me
some money and told me I could pick out anything I wanted. I
was very careful to look through everything before I made my
decision ~ but then I saw him ~ this little lamb. It was love at
first sight. His little pink ears and the bell around his neck.
I paid for him and took him home and have loved him ever since.
He became a symbol to me that life could get better. He
became a symbol of hope.
So now, years later as I lovingly placed him on the tree in
my studio the memories that flood back are happy ones and
there is hope that life will go on and that it will be good.
Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley