I've been having a bit of trouble getting into 'the spirit' this year.  I've tried, I really have... but I'm falling short.   I have a gorgeous tree, and have done some decorating.  The pressies are all wrapped (with care?  well they don't LOOK like I cared, but they are wrapped.  Gimped wrapping skill is genetic, my mother passed it to me)  The Christmas eve dinner is planned (seafood, I'm making a very posh pavlova, and nibbles galore) and the in law's are coming for the evening.  I've shopped for pressies and stockings and have it all ready to go.  But I just can't really seem to get excited.

I think that the proverbial ghost of christmas past is looming.  Just one year ago I was not sitting here with my family, preparing for the holidays.  Just one year ago, I was sitting in a room in Surgical Intensive Care, half way around the world.  I was staring at my first born, laying in a bed with a tracheotomy, and central line IV's  and scars all over his body.

It's pretty likely that at this exact moment a year ago, I would have been trying to comb his long hair in hopes that he could keep some of it when he woke up.. or something equally mom like.   I sat by his bed and read to him... I was reading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings at the time.  I watched Comedy central with him.  I did anything I possibly could to keep him tied to the here & now.. hoping that his mind was just giving his body time to heal from the worst before it woke up and he was hit with a pain that will never fully leave him.    His girlfriend died in the crash that nearly took his life as well.   

It was this very day, that his father & his younger brother had to leave to go back home.  The military would wait no longer unfortunately.  I don't think I have ever felt more alone than I did the evening of the 23rd sitting there. waiting.   A beautiful 'online friend' (in quotes because the online part makes no difference to me) sent a few small decorations for his room, so I put out a few candles (that obviously couldn't be lit, but still smelled of the season) and garlands on the whiteboard at the end of his bed.  Every day the nurses dutifully updated it with the date and who his carers were for the day, so that just in case he woke up, he would at least see that.  And now he would see that someone thought enough to bring  him a small peice of christmas.  

Things got much worse before they got better... On christmas he seemed to follow me with his eyes, and there seemed to be recognition.  Then a fever set in, and peritonitis.  A day or two later,  there was surgery which saved his life... again.    When I left to come home he was just waking ... and when he finally did it happened in leaps and bounds, thank Goddess.  

A year has passed, and I have seen him again healthy and whole, along with the Teen.  But for some reason it hasn't made this holiday season any easier to celebrate.  I know that he is well, and ALIVE, and that fills my heart...almost.  But I think there will always be a shadow of what was over the holiday season.   Maybe next year I can fly him here, and having the holidays together will banish the ghost... who knows?  

For now though, I have hung butterflies on my tree in memory of Susan, whom he loved dearly. And I try to put on the happy holiday face for the sake of the little ones who deserve a joyous holiday.  

For Susan, who loved the holidays...

and for Jon who loved Susan.


3 Responses
  1. Kez Says:

    Oh wow, that is so sad. I'm thankful he made it and thinking of Susan and her family.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    That made me cry. I second Kez's comment.

  3. Thank you both. Susan was a gorgeous girl, and it makes me sad that I never got to meet her. Her parents said they had hoped we would meet eventually for a wedding.

    Jon's father & went to meet them while he was in the hospital, and they came to see him when it looked very dire and like he would not make it. They are such wonderful people, they felt bad for US, if you can imagine... because of the hell we were in the middle of. And they had just lost their baby. just Wow, ya know?