Tuesday, December 9, 2008
How can a Christmas Tree break my heart?
When my Mom was living in a nursing home I would visit her as much as possible. We both just wanted to spend as much time together as we could since we had finally discovered how much we enjoyed each other's company. For so long we had fought, and said horrible things to each other. Now we shared everything, our hopes and fears ran the same course. Her room was very small, but she was incredibly lucky to have her own room and be so well cared for thanks to my Gramps. At this point she was paralyzed from the waist down, half blind, almost completely deaf, and had facial paralysis on both sides. She had to be assisted in all parts of her day and spent all of her time in a hospital bed squinting at the captions on her soaps. Her face would light up when I walked in, and everytime I left that room I felt like I was abandoning her. She was so small and fragile, with such a brave smile. She never complained about being alone. She couldn't really leave her room easily to enjoy the tree her home had, so my Gramps or maybe my Dad bought her a tiny fake tree with fiber optic tips. She decorated it with her bears, she loved her bears and seemed so happy to have a little tree to brighten up her room. On Christmas morning I sat with Paul and JT in our tiny little apartment, under our brand new artificial tree, letting JT open all of his presents and just thinking... right now my Mom is alone. She is sitting in a little room, by herself, after almost 40 years of loving and giving of herself she is trapped in that little room. Of course as soon as all of the gifts were opened and paper cleared away, we did what we did every holiday and went to see my Mom. I sat and quietly watched while people who she hadn't seen in months showed up for an hour and left. I looked through her few Christmas cards she had tacked up near her bed, not seeing any from the people she had spent her entire life with. The rest of her wall was covered in pictures of JT and myself, of my Gramps and Diana. We were everything to her, and she has to know she was everything to me and still is. As we left I probably was happy, it was so long ago now, I can't remember, but I was probably just happy to have spent the day with her. I'd like to be dramatic and say I tore myself from her bedside, but the fact is I never really grasped that her bed would be empty before the next Christmas. When December came around again my Dad pulled out the little artifical tree, and I brought it to my home, where now it sits every holiday. The other day I saw Mica hug it. I love that damn little tree but God it breaks my heart. So I am preparing for another Christmas without my mom, and I keep telling myself she's the lucky one, she is with the Goddess, she has probably reincarnated and is long gone from this life. If I could have only one thing for Christmas it would be to know for a fact that she is somewhere warm and happy. That she is somebody's baby, and that she is no longer trapped in that little room with a tiny little tree.