(December 11, 2007)

Christmas time. You’d think the world would stop all its problems for a while so that we could concentrate on celebrating Christ. But life goes on. …Babies are born and people die.

My mother-in-law is sick. She’s extremely weak. My focus is not so much on Christmas any more. I can see it won’t really matter if I don’t get all my baking done. We need to focus on this lovely, precious woman of 96 who, up to a couple of weeks ago was quilting and keeping up with her reading. The woman who, only three days ago, was so elegantly dressed in the beautiful two-piece dress I bought her for her birthday this year. The woman who I took care of like she was my own mother. The woman we kept alive a few years ago when the doctor had given up on her and had given orders not to hook up the IV again when it had accidentally fallen out of her arm. She was a mom for me who inspired me in so many ways. She taught me things that I missed learning from my own mom.

On Thursday we will be spending the day taking Mom to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Then she’ll have a colonoscopy and, perhaps, surgery. Her doctor jokingly told us how the anaesthesiologist will have a heart attack, knowing he has to work on a 96-year-old. But she is so well in every way except physically, she has such a strong, good, wise mind, that we need to do all we can to help her survive this. We can’t give up on her and she doesn’t want to give up.

I don’t know what will happen this Christmas. I don’t know whether she’ll be well enough to come and celebrate with us. I would hate for her to be at the care home on Christmas day, though, when I remember my time in hospital at Christmas when I was nineteen. It’s the worst place to be at a time like that – a time meant for family and home.

I did get our cards done. They went in the mail today. I did get one kind of cookie made, a traditional favourite. Still a couple of gifts to buy. Still the tree to put up. I do so long for that tree in our living room. I long to sit in the dark with its lights shining, Christmas music softly playing. We need that kind of peace right now.

Strange, though. Focusing on Mom’s needs right now helps me not to feel so overwhelmed. We’ll just do what needs to be done and make the best of the rest.

A woman who used to be in my ladies’ Bible study group has just given birth to a baby boy. And that’s a source of joy….And so life goes on.