A strange thing about becoming a writer is the uncertainty of knowing what is appropriate to write about, and when.

I’ve been hesitant (again… surprise!) to sit down and write about what was really going on, while it was happening, lest I lose the distance and perspective necessary for accurate and honest reflection. That’s how I feel about this blogging thing; there are others whom I admire greatly that feel the quicker we can process our circumstances (without filter or rumination) the more honest we are.

But here I am the day before Christmas, sitting in my new office – in my childhood home – where I now permanently live, once again.

Ithaca did not work out, on many levels and for many reasons. There will be time for further explanation later but I want to get right to the heart of this post: one month ago, we almost lost Memere.

She had been in poor health the few months prior, and she was admitted again to the hospital the day after Thanksgiving. It looked like she might not come home – and even if she did, we were advised she probably didn’t have long. For those of you who have ever watched a loved one deteriorate to that point, you know the unrelenting roller coaster of emotion, grief, anger and pain. I made the decision not to return to Ithaca so that I could be with her during what could only be described as her “last chapter.” She was placed on comfort care in the hospital, and released that Monday, to Hospicare.

This is where the telling of my story gets a little complicated. I want to talk about how sick she really was and how agonizing it was for all of us to see her slipping away. But at this moment, in this space, I feel like that is still more her story, not mine. I am a grateful and willing participant in her personal drama that we call life. I don’t think she’d be thrilled with all of the details shared here, with just anyone who happens to stumble across my words; however, I do know she would want me to do whatever makes me comfortable as a writer – so this is what I’m comfortable telling you:

I believe in Christmas miracles. I believe in the power of prayer and positive vibrations, and the power of will when harnessed to our living breath, rather than our dying one. I believe that when a person decides to take their life as it comes, only minute-by-minute, day-by-day, rather than needing to see a much larger picture, than anything is endurable and surmountable.

I understand that one day, when it truly is her time to return to where she came from, then no amount of positive vibes, or wishful thinking, or intent prayer will be able to change it. But we aren’t there yet.

It feels a little like taking the most beautiful train ride of your life, and trying to enjoy the scenery, even though you know the train is going to go off the rails when the ride is over.

So that’s what I’m doing – enjoying each laugh, each word spoken in French (even those that I don’t understand – – *most of them*), each time she answers the phone, each hug, kiss and “I love you,” each little sigh, and each story she tells. It’s a breathtaking view I have from this new, heightened perspective. It would be foolish to miss any of these moments, preparing for a crash.

I will not open one single present this Christmas, but this gift of Grace is not one that could ever be topped. Another Christmas with Memere is a humbling lesson in the true spirit of the holiday season.

I am wishing you all a most wonderful Christmas weekend, filled with all the traditions that make your past holiday memories so sweet. I wish those of you who have lost loved ones this year the gift of their presence with you at this time, as you hold them in light and joyous remembrance. And for those of you needing to make new traditions this year, I wish you curiosity, spirit and courage to build them uniquely and beautifully, in your perfect image.

Wishing you all a Christmas miracle,

~Rhéa Junior

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” -Charles Dickens
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” -Charles Dickens

4 thoughts on “The Christmas Miracle

  1. Hi Rhea, I’m so glad you were able to spend another Christmas with Memere! I’ve been thinking about her. I know what you’re going through and how hard it is. There is a similar scenario playing out in my life with my best friend’s mother or my “other mother”. I also got to spend another holiday season with her and her family. You describe this wonderful gift perfectly. There is no store bought present in the world that has greater value than spending precious time with those we love. So much light and love to you and your family and brightest blessing for the coming new year!!

    Peace and Love Always,


  2. I’m so grateful to be connected to you and your words. Much love to you and Thom, and, again, I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers and would covet the same from you. Merry CHRISTmas!

  3. Oh rhea! beautifully written!! This christmas I too will be spending my day embracing joy and the true meaning of the holidays and as always, I send love and light out to you and yours. ❤

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