I'm sitting on my cozy couch watching Ginger Rodgers, vivid with glamour even in black and white. By the itty-bitty colored lights of our tiny Christmas tree, I'm ticking the last few things off my holiday to-do list. And thanking the Lord for the convenience of internet shopping and express shipping!
I haven't done very much at all in the way of writing lately. I haven't done much of anything at all lately. I've been bed-ridden with fevers, sometimes losing hours to black dreams and feeling deliriously confused. In eight weeks I've lost twenty-two pounds, not being able to keep anything down, repulsed by even the smell of food. Even though things look fairly grim regarding my health, I'm refusing to give up my fight to be home for Christmas this year! The nurses are coming every day for IV treatments at my home in an attempt to keep me stable, but the infection rages on. I missed my son's Christmas concert this week, which broke both our hearts.
But my son came home.
If you've seen the world news, you know of the tragic shooting down in Connecticut where so many small children lost their lives. I cannot begin to imagine the magnitude of that loss. I cry just thinking about those children and their families. Parents who have closets full of presents, waiting for the little hands that will never come home to open them. I cry thinking about how every time the holidays come around which are meant for family, love and laughter - they will only be haunted by these wretched memories. My heart aches for them.
Our neighborhood suffered a different kind of blow last week as well. My son's principal was arrested as part of a drug trafficking ring. He watched over our kids the last few years. Even played hockey with my father and brother. Arrested along with twenty-seven others (including a doctor and other reputable members of the community) they also found two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in dope paraphernalia, a hundred thousand in cash and five guns when they raided there drug house.
My son was shaken by both of these horrid events and asked me the questions I couldn't answer. 'Why would someone do such a thing? I thought we were supposed to trust our teachers?' How can I make him feel better when the world seems big and scary even to me?!
I wish I could gather him up in my arms and home school him until he turns eight-teen and then ship him off to college in full body armor.
What I do know is this holiday season I'm with the people in the world I love more than anything. I know there will be singing and dancing, laughing at comic holiday movies, surprises from Santa and riots of good cheer as we ring in the new year. I also know now that I will have all of this whether I'm in my bed at home or in a hospital bed or anywhere at all. I had been so focused on hoping and praying and wishing to be home for Christmas that I did not realize that I'll already have everything I could ever ask for no matter where I am. I plan on being grateful for every minute.
People often ask me how I keep my spirits up. I understand that my illness is an awful and scary obstacle sometimes. But how could I be sad or depressed when I feel like the luckiest person in the world in every other way?
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday however you are celebrating! Enjoy the scrumptious food, the shiny eyes of excited children, the fun of watching the opening of gifts, the crackling fire and twinkling lights. Above all, appreciate all you have and those you share it with. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, let your kisses linger longer and know that the biggest gift of all is being able to love them and hold them close.