A few years ago, my family experienced the loss of my father and mother on the same day. My father passed away after a nine-month illness, while my mother, who has dementia, could no longer live alone and moved on to her new home in an assisted living community. Suddenly, our world changed and many things taken for granted, would never be the same.
This is my favorite time of year. As the holiday season approaches, I find myself excited – decorating, shopping and attending parties– yet with each passing year, there is a longing to experience memories from the past. My parents’ house was full of family, friends, and sometimes family friends who had nowhere else to go. This was also my dad’s most favorite time of year. Everyone was welcome. From Thanksgiving through Christmas his house was like a month-long open house filled with food, family, football, and fun.
Our world has become so busy during the holidays – parties, homeroom class parties, volunteering, family pictures, shopping for gifts, going to catch all the holiday movie releases – and somewhere in that busy schedule is making time for those we love. And if we don’t, well there is always next year, right?
I recently read a story about an elderly gentleman who lived alone and was so excited to have his family home for Christmas. One by one, they called him to let him know they would be unable to come home, “but we love you! See you soon!” thus leaving the man to spend the holiday alone.
Shortly after, the family is notified that he had passed away and immediately rush home. When they arrived, they see the table is set, complete with burning candles. Then, the elderly man walks into the room with a smile on his face and says, “How else was I going to get all of you here together?”
Who would not give up their time, work, or tasks to spend one more hour with a loved one? I know I would. So, during this busy time of year, I encourage you to spend time with family and friends. It is the greatest gift you can give them… and yourself.
– Sandy Neuzil