First of all, I'd like to wish everyone here on ATS a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
I didn't say anything last night (Christmas Eve) because it felt like a buzz-kill on the joyous night, but I'll tell this story for the first time now
because it comes off a little happier (hopefully), but still tragically sad in some ways. Perhaps it gives meaning to the true meaning of the Holiday
Last Christmas, I don't think I made it back to my hotel room until well after midnight (probably around 3am or so). I should have been drunk from
all I'd drank that night, but I wasn't (I'd tried very hard to be, in a very short time frame). I realized that I had no gifts for anyone on
Christmas, zero. In a few short hours I'd be heading for the airport to get on a plane. My two sisters, also at the same hotel, would be heading out
as well. My flight was at 5am and I'd be gone before they even woke. I couldn't leave without somehow wishing them a merry Christmas, but it was
"merry"...and I just couldn't find the words.
Nothing left to give for Christmas, a half finished bottle of scotch and a leftover sandwich I hadn't touched in a styrofoam box from dinner the night
I had arrived the previous morning, and somehow made it through the throngs of people to my rental car. It was a short 30 minute drive. What met me
at the other end of that drive was unspeakable (and I won't recount it here). Mom lay dying in a hospital bed. It was not peaceful, not at all.
This had all come on so suddenly; there was no warning. Just a descent into hell almost overnight. I was 1,700 miles away when it started, and
within an hour I was on a plane.
We had walked away just for a moment to get something, anything, to eat. It was about 7pm when the call came.
Mom had passed away...it was Christmas Eve (2017).
(Fast forward past all the arrangements and grief.)
I stood in the hallway of the silent hotel with my bag packed and ready to head out to the airport. I couldn't leave without saying goodbye, or
something about the holiday. With a few minutes left, I went down to the front desk and cashed in some of my larger bills for $1 dollar bills. And
then I did about the only thing I could (seems cheap now in retrospect), I went to every floor of the hotel and basically raided the vending machines
of snacks. I made a small basket of snacks for both of my sisters expressing my sadness and wishing them a better holiday. They had a long drive
ahead of them, and snacks were all that was available at 3am.
I left one of the little baskets I'd made at each of their hotel room doors, along with my note, and headed out to the airport.
Strangely, one of the hardest parts (and I'm generally a pretty unshakable person) was the thought of facing thousands of people who would all be
saying "Merry Christmas!!" What would I say??? Just wish them a merry Christmas back? Say it wasn't merry for me, and then have to potentially ruin
someone else's Christmas with my story when they inquired why??? And, it was just as daunting as I had imagined.
My sisters greatly appreciated the humble gift I'd left. It was all I had. That, or a leftover sandwich and a half a bottle of scotch.
So the message here not one of sorrow, and not one of happiness either, but rather a message about family. Look around you this Christmas. Love 'em
if you've got 'em! Nobody is forever.
There is solace knowing Mom is in a better place now, and Christmas one year later does have a lifetime of joyous memories (just not last year's
Merry Christmas, ATS!
edit on 12/25/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)