December 15, 2020

Heaven Can Wait

Christmas evokes special, lifelong memories for me of my mom simply because it was her very favorite time of the year. We all called her Mimi, the name my son had given her. She could not wait to put up the holiday trees, decorated so beautifully—usually three plus one “Charlie Brown” tree outside on the porch.

During Mimi’s last days with us during the weeks of December, she was in the hospital on a respirator. She wrote me a note asking whether I had put up her trees yet. I responded that I had done so. She wrote about how much she was missing by being in the hospital during this special season. Her hospital room did not have the space to bring much to her, but I obtained a small, ceramic tree with little, colored lights and took it to Mimi. She loved that little tree and wanted it plugged in all the time.

Christmas Eve was difficult for me, but I went to the late-night service at Aldersgate United Methodist with my family and, holding the lighted candle, I prayed that Mom would not leave us on Christmas Day. My prayers were answered, and she seemed to rally when I visited her on Christmas Day. She struggled to hold on, but on December 26th, she lost her battle. I always believed that she lasted that extra day so I would not always have the memory of her passing away on Christmas Day.

I was, of course, devastated, and in my grief, I gathered her belongings from her hospital room and left. I completely forgot the little ceramic tree, and when I remembered later, I assumed that it had been discarded by the hospital staff. When I unpacked Christmas ornaments for the next two Decembers, I mourned the loss of my mom and her favorite little hospital tree. Then on year three, suddenly the little, white tree prominently appeared in the decorations as if Mom had returned to be with me. To this day (25 years ago this December 26th) I do not know how this little tree made its way back to me, but I treasure it, and it continues to be an important part of my decorations to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

Sandy Parsons, Resident