Sunday, December 22, 2013
It was over 13 years ago and the Christmas time was an especially tender and memory making one for me. It was almost Christmas and my house was not decorated in its usual lights and brights. The smell of baking didn't fill the air....Piano playing was soft and noise kept to a minimum because...No parties or dinners planned...
Dad was terminally ill and had requested that the hubbub be kept to a minimum.....He knew I could be a bit "too much" at Christmas, with caroling everywhere, baking, singing at Church, too many functions, a minimum of three large trees etc. etc. etc. All he wanted for Christmas as he said was a quiet one... His eyes had a far away look in them as we both spent so much quality time together......The house was decorated only two ways,,,, with a very old bonsai tree I had bought for his gift and a very old and tattered Nativity scene from my days as a child...He was so fascinated with the bonsai tree that was years old and looked at the Nativity scene with memories in his eyes.
Just days before Christmas, after a hospital stay, he was moved into an inpatient residential hospice because his pain could no longer be controlled at my home. He had so outlived his life expectancy by many months. He had been very open with me all along about his wishes and that I was not to allow him to be a burden. As a former Hospice Director years before, I knew I had to let him "go on" and not cling to him. We'd had months of time together and shared thoughts and emotions that were never expressed before.
The inpatient hospice was wondrous, new and inviting with volunteers and family rooms and even a library....But it all seemed a bit surreal as the true reality had sunk in that this was the beginning of the ending of time on this earth for my Dad. He was a firm believer in Heaven and what awaited him....I had no doubt either, but it was harder than I would have anticipated to "let go".....
I especially remember one late Winter afternoon, just as the sun was setting, there were carolers in the outside Hospice courtyard....I heard Silent Night, sung so sweetly and gently as if just wafted in on pieces of soft clouds, not the loud blare of noise found at malls where the sound was bombarding you..Peaking quickly outside to see them, I remember thinking this must be what heaven sounds like - all love and smiles and kindness and in tune..
And later that evening, there was an almost inaudible knock on the door. A young girl with her mother wanted to give me a homemade angel. I walked in the hallway and shut the door ever so quietly....I bent down to look at the angel and than the young child who looked about 7 or so... I listened as she told me that she and her Mother made angels every Christmas and gave them to families to let them know there would be an angel to help the new angels find their way to heaven. Her mother said that she had sat with her own mother for years making angels to give especially at Christmas time...But that she continued the tradition of angels with her daughter in remembrance of her mother....
I thanked both of them and started to go back in the room, as I felt my eyes begin to overflow, this little girl tugged on my sweater every so gently and said that I could keep my angel and it would remind me of my angel in heaven.
My angel from her is now very dirty and dusty and a bit tear stained but I never put it away, Sometimes I move it around in the house, I've traveled with it and it's visited many places and even been overseas. It's been in my car.... and sometimes when I just was having a rough time, it's been in a sweater pocket. It has visited the bunnies and been in the Goat barn awaiting a new life. It even went My father's funeral just a few days before Christmas. And as I touched the then clean crisp lace on it in my pocket, I was flooded with gratitude for all the love surrounding my Father's life and that I knew I would be with him again. This special Angel comforted me over the years and then she was with me for special occasions on the farm. She is very valuable to me. A symbol of Love ...... purely given with no expectations in return.
I wish I knew this family's name so I could thank them so for this special Christmas Angel I got so many years ago...... For me, it is a symbol of so much, but also of the selfish love of this family as they extended comfort and love to those they never met in such a personal way as they only could give.... So,
No matter what your celebration for Christmas might be, I pray you will have the kind of time that you either receive and/or give a special Christmas Angel.
I write this with much love for my Dad and those who have a way of stepping up to fill a need........It's Christmas time, may it bring you, Hope, Love, Joy and Peace!And may we all give this to the world.