Holidays can be the most bittersweet time of year. With my mom, my birthday and Christmas are the hardest for me when it comes to missing my mom.
My mom loved Christmas cards. I mean LOVED Christmas cards. When I was growing up, she and my aunt would have a contest of who received the most Christmas cards. My aunt passed away when I was a teenager and I was vying for that spot. I asked my mom if she would let me be the next contender when I was an adult.
Let the games commence. It was such an exciting time when I started doing it. This was before digital cameras and emails. Sending and receiving cards were so much fun.
The best part of the contest was coming home to check my mail. If I got a card, I would run into the house to call my mom. You know…on the phone mounted to the wall with the curly cord. Not on those fancy cell phones we carry around today.
It was all in good fun. There were years when Mom would destroy me and every now and then I would win. Those times were few and far between though. Moma would send out nearly 50 cards. Each card would have their own special message.
My hunka hunka encouraged me to have a traveling trophy. That stepped up Moma’s game. She loved winning that trophy. In actuality, she loved KEEPING that trophy. I believe I only won it once in the few years we had it. I’m not sure whatever happened to that trophy. Knowing Daddy and how he throws things away, it is probably long gone in the trash. But I still have those fun memories.
Dementia flat out sucks. I hate that disease so much. I know I said that in my other blog, Dementia Sucks, but I can just never say it enough. However, God would give me images of my real mom. Those were the best of times in the end.
Mom knew when Christmas was rolling around. The nursing home would put up their trees. My mom couldn’t hold a pen anymore. Her rheumatoid arthritis was too bad, and her short term memory couldn’t keep her on track. It was five years ago when I realized our Christmas card contest was over. Her health was declining in 2013. Her intermittent nursing home stays would become a full time reality.
2014 passed as a blur. She never realized it was even Christmas. I wanted to change things for her in 2015. I posted on Facebook and told my Facebook friends about the contest we used to have and how much my mom loved Christmas cards. So many of my friends reached out for her address. She received over 100 Christmas cards, one as far away as Portugal. She was the envy of the whole nursing home. I would sit and read each of them to her and explain who they all were. Some of my friends wrote the sweetest notes about me. Mom was just as shocked as I…haha. I even remember my former micro team made it a point to send a bunch of cards individually. I thought my sweet mom was going to cry. I laughed when she asked me to send everyone a thank you note because she wasn’t going to be able to write that many letters.
In 2016, I didn’t even have to ask my friends to send cards to my mom. They did it automatically. Again my mom was the talk of the nursing home. She said she didn’t know that many people. My dad gathered the cards after Christmas and put them in a bag for me.
I didn’t realize that would be my last Christmas with my mom, as she passed the summer of 2017. I carried those darn cards in my little truck for a very long time. I came across them not too long ago.
Now that Moma is pretty settled in Heaven, whether I like it or not, I need to do things for her and for myself. Healing process. Grief isn’t short term…grief is forever. My hunka hunka encouraged me to put up my tree this year, which was hard enough. Today I asked him to stop so I could pick up some Christmas cards. Now I just have to bring myself to sit down and write them out. I’ll save that for another day. Baby steps…
I wonder if I sent Mom a card in Heaven, she would get it and send me one back…hmm…