The honest truth is that the holiday season has sucked since my mom died a half dozen years ago. Growing up, Mom had boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations, did days of baking throughout December, and actually drew up lists of presents to get people. Some Christmas mornings she would sneak into my room and play the Twisting Santa, a Santa figure that danced and played The Twist, jerking me out of sleep. I hated that Santa. He sits in my closet now, sans batteries, unanimated. I can’t throw him out, although there were times I almost splintered him to pieces.
The last Christmas I spent with her it was just her, me, and Reinhardt, so I mentioned that we should just grab a deli pizza and spend the time with cards and coffee. Imagine my surprise when she acquiesced. It was a quiet, cold December night. By that time, the cancer that was to ultimately take her was already rooted. I remember how tired she was that last Christmas. I also remember her sense of contentment. Cards, coffee, pizza, and loved ones. Twisting Santa sat peacefully in one corner.
Since Mom’s been gone, the rest of the family has been somewhat estranged from each other. We can’t seem to communicate between all our fear and hurt feelings. Mom would be pretty fed up with us if she was still around.
Most Christmases have been something to get through – not necessarily a time of celebration but a trial. However, beyond Christmas is the New Year and spring and the promise of new life. Although I still feel the gaps in my life where my relationship with my mom was, I also know the richness her presence brought into my life. Who knows what hopes and joys will cross our paths by this time next year.
Keri lives in Boyle Street.