It’s that time of year again. A time for family. I have always cherished the relationship I have with my family and their never-ending support of whatever I do in life. But I always feel a little empty around this time of year almost as if something is missing.
When I was a child, my mom’s mother would dress her house up for the holidays the day after Christmas. The tree would go up, presents would appear, and her holiday spirit would start. She loved Christmas. My brother and I would go visit her house leading up to Christmas and we would sit by the tree and shake gifts addressed to us. It drove her crazy! She always made the holidays enjoyable and it inspired me to be a little nicer and little more helpful.
Christmas of 1996 was a little different. I was 7 years old-old enough to have a memorable relationship with my grandmother and old enough to understand when things were wrong. My grandparents came over to my parents house for Christmas that year. My grandmother had gotten me the Hanson casett tape-the Mmmmbop one-because she knew how much I loved them. It was an unusual Christmas, my grandmother wasn’t as cheerful and bright as she always was. A few days after Christmas, my grandfather called my mom and told her my grandmother was really sick. It was a case of pneumonia. It seemed to get worse through the first of the year which put her in the hospital. My mom still worked at the hospital then and would stay extra hours and even go in late at night to check up on my grandmother. We went in a few times to go visit her but she was only getting worse. It was a week before my birthday and my mom had come home late from work. I was in my room reading for class when she came in and told me my grandmother had passed away. I understood what happened and was old enough to react to it. The next day it rained..I stayed in bed the majority of the morning missing school. I remember hearing my dad upset-he never shows much emotion. We lost the one person in our family who had so much spirit it would wash over anything negative during the holidays. If she had a role, she would be a Mrs. Claus of Christmas. My grandmother was a daring, hopeful, and imaginative woman. She was my hero.
Every year since, a part of me always feels empty. I used to love the holidays and the Christmas spirit. As I got older, I felt like it slipped further and further away each year. This year, I am making a promise to both myself and to my grandmother, the angel over my shoulder. This promise states that I will try and be a little more cheerful, helpful, and happy around the holidays. Yes these times get hectic and I get irritable-I do work in retail-but it is no excuse to be unpleasant. Instead I will be nostalgic about the memories I had as a child and continue to make memories with my family, Judd and his family.
This post is dedicated to the late Kathy LaPointe, the coolest grandma I know.