Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Month to Christmas!

MUSIC: "Mary's Boy Child"

Are You Preparing for the Holidays?

While driving yesterday, I heard this beautiful Christmas carol on the radio. Since it's my first one for the season, I thought I would share it with all of you on my site. Some of you who are dealing with illness or are very anxious about the uncertainty of an upcoming cancer diagnosis will most definitely not even want to hear the word C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, let alone listen to any of the holiday music.

I understand completely just how you may feel!

For most people, Christmas is a time of year for fun and frolic, laughter and cheer. When illness strikes however, this time of year can bring an added measure of sadness and a great desire for the festivites to quickly disappear. I can relate personally to this feeling, as our family has felt it and lived it during the first Christmas after my husband's cancer diagnosis. I remember the melancholy feeling that year at the first sound of any Christmas music and even more so when we heard the old familiar sacred carols like "Silent Night" or "O Holy Night".

Our thoughts of course were of death and not of the true meaning that one associates with Christmas and the birth of the Baby Jesus. It's difficult for anyone to relate, unless you are affected personally with serious illness and so much uncertainty. Shopping that year was sooooo difficult. Of course it had to get done, as I was the one who had the sole responsibility to make the holidays as normal as possible, despite of what each of our family members were dealing with. There were gifts to buy, decorations to put up, and baking to get done...all completed with an outward display of routineness. Although my husband was very ill, we could not just sit and wait for something to happen....we had to continue with the festivites to help him feel everything would be ok and that his death sentence was just a doctor's prediction and nothing more.

I remember that most of the gifts we exchanged that Christmas were memorable in that I purchased special ones for my husband to give to his daughters....gifts that they could cherish for many years to come....that's what he wanted to give them. Our daughters and I in return bought gifts for their Dad to remind him that he would be with us for many, many years to come.

Christmas morning was one of many tears, numerous photos to capture as we thought it would most definitely be our last family Christmas morning together, but it was also one that held alot of laughter and most of all thankfulness. Thankfully we were invited out for Christmas dinner that year with family, and although we brought along alot of doom and gloom to their house, we were grateful for the distraction that it gave all of us...just to get away from home for awhile and celebrate the day with others. The remainder of the holidays consisted of visits from family and friends and when my husband was feeling up to it, we also returned the favor. Our tree and other decorations were not taken down that year until the last week in January. We enjoyed every moment and we embraced the special memories that it gave all of us.

As Christmas approaches again this year, my husband still has cancer and our lives are still in a somewhat state of uncertainty. What I have learned though throughout this time, is to not dwell on "what might be" but "what is". Appreciate everyday to the fullest and even though everyone who is affected by cancer whether as a patient, caregiver or family member or friend, will have difficult days we must all remember to live, laugh and love each and every day to the fullest. No one has any guarantee about life and as our family has recently experienced with the loss of our dear friend, one does not have to be ill to suddenly pass away.

Despite the difficulties you may be experiencing now, I would encourage each of you to continue to listen to Christmas carols, look forward to the holiday season in your own special way and celebrate the good days, even if they happen sometimes in just a twinkling moment.
Each of us will prepare for the holidays in our own special way, depending on our personal situations, but the main thing to remember is to keep your spirits lifted for those you love!
"You will be surprised at the impact it will make"


Anonymous said...

Very true Debbie! We all have to make the best of the Christmas holidays and realize that there is someone who always has it worse.

Anonymous said...

You used the words "Live, Laugh & Love". They are familiar to me because when my daughter was sick a dear friend gave her a pendant with those words.
I am certain you have touched many readers with your Christmas message.

Robin said...

Every time I read one of your posts it is always what I need to hear at that time. Thank you for continuing to inspire me.
God Bless