Christmas has never really been a good time for me. My father was killed on Christmas day 1978, only I did not know that. My mother managed to keep that from my brother Todd and myself until I was about 14 years old. She kept a suitcase with some of his old things in it, and one of them was an obituary. I had read it many times before, but never put the dates together until I was older. I had to give my mom props for that one. What I did not know, and actually did not find out until after her death was the rest of the story about his death.
You see according to my mother, after he had his accident, and was taken to the hospital he was pronounced brain dead. They kept him alive long enough for her to get there, and then he left…………………. However, what really happened was his accident was actually on the 22nd, and he spent several days on life support until they had to let him go on Christmas morning. I was 4 my brother 2. I could not fathom the pain my mother was feeling that morning, and having to make the decision to continue on with Christmas as to not let it affect us boys. Brave, and with an incredible strength she continued on. I don’t know if I could have done the same thing.
And then Jan 12th 2005 my mother herself was killed in a car accident. Thankfully her passing was instant, and did not drag out. She was always very adamant about not ever being put on life support. I did not understand nearly as much why until I had a conversation with Dad, who raised us boys as his own, about the 3 days my father was on life support. I did not believe him at first, since I knew the story that Mom told us. But when I found her secret stash of things from our father that I had never seen before, including a story about his 3 days on life support, I knew my Mom took that Christmas secret to her grave. I had to hand to her; it was impressive to keep that from us for so many years.
That last Birthday I had with my mom she insisted on having a Birthday party for me just like when I was a kid, I tried to talk her out of it, but she would not budge. She had decided to attend a Jehovah witness church about 6 months before her death, I had no problems with it, she seemed very happy. But that last Christmas she was not going to celebrate, due to the churches beliefs. I honestly think she liked it better that way. She could forget about having Christmas, and instead she was dropping gift off for the kids to us almost every week. It was a hard year for me and my wife that year, and I know it was because of my Mom that year the kids had a good Christmas. She was also doing the same thing for my brothers family as well.
She knew that she was not long for this world, after she passed we found letters written to each of us, my brother, my sister and me. A couple of letters each about 5 years or so apart, and her fear of a young death was weighing heavy on her. She was dealing with some heart issues, and the Doctors just seemed to cause more issues. About six months before she died, she called me up and told me she was done worrying about it all, and was just going to enjoy life. I swear I watched about 20 years of stress disappear from her.
My father was 32 when he died, my mother passed 6 months before my 32 birthday……………….. she was 54, and the only real connection I had to my father’s past, especially since he was raised in a foster home.
I have lost a lot of family and friends around this time of year; sometimes it’s hard to get past that. But I try.