Monday, June 25, 2012

My Worst Christmas Ever

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  It is the 25th day of this mind-bending challenge, and I can say that my mind is both challenged and slightly off kilter.  Today's  prompt is Worst Christmas Ever.  Check out the Linky at WWFC to see who is still standing.

For most people Christmas is a happy time, filled with family, friends, big dinners and gifts.  Houses are decorated with lights of all colors, lawns filled with lighted reindeer, inflatable Santas and snowmen.  Holiday music begins and stores display large festive trees long before the Thanksgiving feast is prepared.

This is what we know, what we expect, and what fills us with the Spirit of Christmas.  However, sometimes things happen in life that changes that feeling.  Events beyond our control take over our thoughts, control our actions, diminish our joy and leave us feeling sad and blue.

That was the case in 2002.  Christmas was just weeks away when we discovered that my Mom had an electrolyte imbalance and had the option of drinking about a gallon of Gatorade or going into the hospital for a few days to get her sodium and potassium levels back on track.  We chose the hospital...there was no way she could drink that much Gatorade.

This was temporary and she would be home in a couple days.   OK we can fix this.  I arrange for ambulance transport because it would be the easiest and safest way to get her there.

We got her sodium and potassium back in line, but then there were more problems and by the time she'd been in for a week, she'd lost too much strength to go home alone.

At that point I faced what had been, thus far, the worst day of my life - the day I put my mother into a nursing home.

This was the middle of December and I visited her every day.  While we knew she had some issues, we still felt that after some physical therapy she could return home.  That wasn't to be.  On the night before Christmas she had taken a downward turn.

Two days after Christmas on December 27, she passed away when we had stepped out for a few minutes to get lunch. 

We all know that death is a part of life, but to have to face it over what is supposed to be a joyous, happy season is even more difficult.  Not once but twice have we faced the loss of a loved one at Christmas.  We lost my father-in-law just this past year several days before Christmas after two separate stays in the hospital.  Like my Mom, we thought that he too would recover and go home.  It wasn't to be in either case, so we each have a worst Christmas ever.


  1. Loss of a parent is always difficult but it sure is intensified during an otherwise festive season. Everyone around you is busy and happy. You don't want to bring them into your misery so you feel rather alone in your sorrow. I'm sorry for your losses. I hope future holiday seasons can bring your fond, happy memories to help temper the sadness.

  2. There's never a good time to undergo the loss of a loved one but that time of year just has to be the worst. My sympathies.

  3. I'm so sorry for both of your losses. It's never easy to lose someone we love, but it just seems compounded at the time of year, what with the focus being on spending time with those closest to us.

  4. Hilary- Thank you. The Christmas season is really not what it used to be. After I lost my father in Oct. '99, it was never the same. This is all part of life, and we go on...

    nonamedufus- Thank you. It is indeed much worse around during the holiday season. Losing my father-in-law was particularly hard on my niece (his granddaughter). She was 12.

    Nicky- Thank you. Christmas went on in both cases, but was subdued and no Christmas tree, except for the little one. This is my backup for times when we don't get a live tree.

  5. I lost my dad when he was 48 to a heart attack. Mom died at 80 after 10 years of illness and hospital stays.

    Being "nobody's child" is a weird feeling. I'm sorry these deaths were so close to a holiday that we try to make so joyful. I'm sorry for your losses. It's been years but I still pick up the phone wanting to call my mom.

  6. Linda- thank you. I understand the feeling. I think of both my parents every single day. There is so much I'd like to be able to share with them and ask them.

  7. Oh no. I am terribly sorry to read this. I don't even know what to say. xoxoxo

  8. So sorry for your losses and both being at Christmas time does make it harder somehow.

    Mo lost her 27 year old daughter weeks before Christmas. Her present from us was still under our tree. She never got to open it. It was a tough Christmas for us, so I know what you mean about grieving while everyone around you is celebrating. In time we were able to enjoy Christmas again, but it's never quite the same, is it?

  9. I am in tears reading this... how horrible.... so so sad.... I am so sorry!

  10. Meleah- I understand and thank you for your sympathies. It is always a cruel twist when we lose those we love. I know that you know this from personal experience, too. Somehow we get through it.

    Babs- It does make it harder and takes the joy out of the season. I am so sorry for what Mo went through. The parent/child relationship is a precious one and when we lose one or the other it is very painful.

    Oh Katherine, I'm sorry I made you cry, but yes, both losses were terribly sad. We are stronger than we know, and we go on. It's not easy, but we do go on.

  11. Linda,
    I'd just like to say I am so glad for the healing that has taken place in you after the excruciating separation death brought. You have been the sanity of many of our Christmases and the Queen of Snacks! Love ya, Ashley

  12. While death in its own right is hard to deal with, during that time of year it seems multiplied. Sorry for you. :(

  13. Thanks Ashley, we've had some good times! Love you too.

    P.J.Thank you!


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