The Best and the Worst Christmas…

The year was 1989.  It had been a tough year for my family.  Both of my parents had been in the hospital for the first four months of that year–at the same time.  My daddy had suffered near fatal pneumonia, which also caused mesenteric thrombosis–a blood clot in his intestines.  He had nearly 1/2 of his intestines removed.  He spent two months on life support in ICU, and another two months in rehab.  My mother suffered from severe depression, which nearly killed her.  She didn’t leave her bedroom for nearly three months before ending up in the hospital for another four months in the psychiatric ward.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, my parents were admitted to a nursing home facility.  They were allowed to be roommates and continued to recover there.  Toward the end of that year, my parents convinced my mother’s brother to help them leave the nursing home–against my wishes.  I knew their history and didn’t feel it was in their best interest to be at home unsupervised.  Without my help, they went home and resumed their old, unhealthy lifestyle.

My intuition turned out to be correct, because within two months my daddy was back in the hospital and in ICU again.  My mother’s mental condition was still fragile, and she was unable to stay alone, so she had to come and stay with us.  By the time all of these things happened, it was Christmastime.

It snowed that year just before Christmas, not a little snow, but a large amount of snow.  Snow is not something that we see much of in southeast Georgia.  Even a few snowflakes are a treat to us!  Our children were ages 3,6, and 9 years old.  We all had a great time making snowballs and taking pictures.  It was a picture perfect Christmas in Georgia!

The bad thing about snow in Georgia is that we are not prepared for it.  We don’t have the right kind of clothing, nor are our vehicles equiped to drive in snow and ice.  We were not able to travel to the hospital to see about my daddy for a couple of days–which is a long time when you have a family member in ICU.  I was so worried about him.

In the meantime, Ed’s brother was out of the state working on a job site.  The other brother was eating Christmas dinner with his in-laws.  Ed’s parents came to spend Christmas Day with us that year instead of cooking.  Ed and I had begun staying home with our children on Christmas so they could enjoy their gifts,  and I was still learning to cook turkeys and hams.

  A little before lunchtime, Ed’s out-of-town brother called and said he would be coming home for Christmas after all.  He was either at the airport, or on his way–I don’t remember which–but he asked if someone could come and  pick him up.  Ed said that he would drive to the airport and get him.

It’s over an hour’s drive to the airport–one way– and the roads were still icy.  I was on pins and needles the whole time Ed was gone.  I was also sad that he had to  be gone on Christmas–even for a little while. I was so relieved when both of them arrived home safely!  We didn’t have cell phones then, so there was no contact the whole time Ed was gone.

Besides the snow,  here is the best part of this story for me.  I was totally a Tom Cruise fan at the time!  I loved all of his movies, I followed his career, made a scrapbook, had two framed posters of him, and bought every magazine that had his picture on the cover.  I even watched the movie Rainman 23 times!  To this day, it’s one of my favorite movies. 

Tom Cruise was on the cover of Time Magazine that December.  I searched everywhere for a copy of that magazine and failed to find one.  We live in a very small town, and I guess there isn’t much demand for Time Magazine here.   While at the airport, my always thoughtful Ed went to the newstand and found a copy of that magazine for me.  He surprised me with it when they got home!  It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received! 

Epilogue:  My daddy survived his second two month stay in ICU and I was fortunate enough to get him and my mother back in at the nursing home–in a room together– which was such a blessing.  I knew they would be safe and taken care of, and they were.  He lived another 18 months, she lived another 7 years.

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Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 9:49 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. How sad and sweet, and hopeful, and everything all rolled into one story. Thank you for sharing.


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