Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Christmas?

Darkest Night: West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
Tonight at our church's Darkest Night Service (where we recognize not only the longest night of the year but also the fact that for many people have grief, sadness, and loss over the holidays), I lit a candle for Mom. I knew this Christmas would be hard for me since Mom is now in hospice and this may be her last Christmas with us, but I did not realize how much it affected me until I lit the candle and said out loud "This is for my Mom because this might be her last Christmas."

I don't know if this is technically Mom's last Christmas and now that I think about it, I feel like last year might have really been the "last" one. Last year was the last Christmas she was able to talk to her grandchildren, bake cookies, or open a gift. That was the last Christmas that she spent doing many of the things she always loved to do.

Every Christmas we would make dozens of Christmas cookies, her most famous being sugar cut outs and gingerbread. Then all of the kids and grand kids would gather together on the Saturday before Christmas to decorate the cookies. Last year she was able to help me make at least one of her Christmas cookies but tonight I made the dough for the gingerbread in my house by myself. No mother to make sure I was doing it right and to share the memory of making these cookies together that I have had for my whole life. I am taking the cookies over to Mom and Dad's tomorrow with my husband and son to decorate with Mom like we have always done, but it won't be the same. She can not move her hands and arms to help decorate or even hold a cookie. I know the important thing is really the time we spend together, not exactly what we are doing, but it is still just sad.
Decorated Christmas Cookies (We love our sugar crystals!)

It is difficult to have lost your parent but also have them physically here. You know their spirit is still here and you can see it in their eyes at times but you can't have a conversation with them, create things together, or do really anything together that you used to do.

We of course will make this the best Christmas we can for Mom and bring to her things that she loves about the season. Her grandchildren decorated her house and Christmas tree for her. We will make cookies together in the best way we can. We will eat together, let her see her grand kids open gifts, and laugh with her. But I have to admit that in all the joy I feel of her being here and being able to spend time with her, I am still sad.


Rev. Katie


  1. I am feeling the same. This is so hard to watch. I love my mom so much and while I am not with her this Christmas my mind sure is - everytime I think of her I start to cry. Hard not to be there knowing that she will likely not remember me next year at the pace she is going downhill. I hope you Christmas went well and that you were able to enjoy the time with your Mom.

  2. Merry Christmas.
    I've just found this blog. It is quite literally an answer to prayer.
    I'm just back from visiting my mother at her facility. The first thing I said to my husband when I got home was that I think this is the last Christmas with "my Mom". I don't want to bring others down, but I can't stop crying.

    It helps to know that others share this pain.

    May we all know comfort in the days ahead.