Sunday, December 11, 2011


Received this email today from a sweet friend. It only serves to underscore my message to you about not stressing Christmas. Do you think this family is even THINKING about presents this year?

You know who you are my friend. Know that I love you and my thoughts are with you and yours.

truer words have never been written

every once in awhile I try to catch up with people who were part of my
life in some special way- and I turn to a blog or two.
For some reason known only to the heavens, I was thinking about you and
the beautiful work you do- and since I was lazing around with my
laptop (nursing a major case of bronchitis) I googled your blog.
Imagine how much it meant to read your very wise (and I know heartfelt)
words about the stresses of the holidays and how we fall into the trap
time and time again. We've all been there, haven't we? Spend too much
money on gifts, stress too much about food, decorations, nurse headaches,
scream at the family (for no good reason other than not feeling so ho ho
ho...). I know I've been there year in and year out.

As I read your post about how you plan to change all that- and work on
only the important things- the family, I knew I had to write you a
short note, because for me this holiday is to be just that. A time
spent with family- basking in the joys of being together, of sharing
a past, enjoying the moment, hoping for the future.

I'm not baking mountains of cookies, I am not buying tons of gifts,
I am opening my heart and my home to my family and we will celebrate
each other. This year we will enjoy the antics of a two and a half
year old grandson, who grows in leaps and bounds- and fills my
heart with such joy, even in my darkest moments.

I will enjoy what time my 86 year old mother can stay with us
until she becomes completely disorientated and needs to be taken
home. I will take joy in having my "baby girl" home from Scotland
with her new husband (and have the joy of a small church wedding
here on the 17th with family and close friends). I'll enjoy the
time off my eldest daughter has from teaching at the University
of Chicago allowing her to be home for several weeks.

Most of all I will make the most of the holiday and the joy of
a wedding with my husband of 33 years (come March). This is the
most important aspect for us all on this Xmas as Doug was diagnosed
with terminal lung cancer at the end of the summer. Just when things
with my mother were lightening up- thanks to a more safe and
structured living environment that will be a god-send for us
due to her Alzheimer's disease, life turned around and dealt a card
I never saw coming. It has dramatically changed how we are living
our life now.

Home and family, and my husband's treatments are the most important
things in my life, as they need to be. I took a leave from my job
right after his diagnosis and as the treatment options and the reality
of his condition became more evident, I left all together- I can make
do with out the extra income.

My daughter-in-law applied for and was awarded a job at our local
hospital ( my "home away from home") that gave her the ability to
stay home during the week so that Tyler would not have to go to
day care. The weekend hours at the hospital rehab facility gives her
the same amount of income that her per diem placement did- a true
blessing for the little family. I do so miss those three days a week
my little man and I spent together, but now he comes to visit Nana and
Poppa at our house and it is a delightful treat- one he hates to leave
at the end of the visit :-)

As you said in your post, what would you do if you knew this was your last
holiday. I guess we never know until we are faced with that possibility.
I just know I wish I had made these changes in my life before I let the
stress of being a caretaker to both old and young as well as keeping up
with a job that meant dealing with a completely dysfunctional owner,
taking care of our home and all that goes with it take over my every
waking moment- all the while trying to keep my own health issues at bay.

I also know that what occurred in the past is just that- the past and what
we will do is make the most of the future given us as a family, and as a
married couple. I know that I took a good look at myself and what I needed
to do in order to be the best I can be and have taken charge of my health
in new and improved ways - and feel better than I have in years (and with
less medication!).

I know it won't be easy as things go on, but I also know I am blessed in
so many ways, with many good friends, and with family I adore.

I send my best to you. Thank you for making me think, thank you for helping
me see that the path I've chosen to take is a good always did
have a way of looking at the world and making it seem right. You too have
faced battles and losses...and I know it's made you stronger. I hope the
same is in my future.

I hope your son continues to do well, and congratulations on a third
beautiful grand daughter. Simple blessings-- those are the ones that make
our hearts full!

Be well, be happy and I hope the holidays are all they should be for you and yours.

After reading this, if you are STILL stressing on what you can or can't BUY someone for Christmas... well, then, I just don't know what to say to you.


  1. Beautiful. Never a truer word spoken. in 2006 my late MIL flew us back to NZ for Christmas. This was supposed to be her last according to the Doctors. Well she saw 2007 and surprised us all with coming here with my SIL and her family. She made it to 2008 but sadly passed away on 31 January 2009. I knew she wasn't well. When she called on Christmas day (2008) she only spoke with Justin.
    We need to treasure and enjoy what we have now, as we have no idea what lies around the corner, what the next card in life will be.
    Love to you all

  2. Elena
    I have taken the liberty of sending different people to your blog. I hope they read it and are changed by it.
    I certainly know that you and your friend that wrote this one have made an impact on my life.
    Thank you.

  3. Wow. So well written. My thoughts and best wishes go out to your friend,Elena.

  4. So beautifully written. So true and so lived by many.Peace of mind is a wonderment and a gift as simplicity in life is a choice.

  5. wow!
    a beautiful and very moving email. life seems bearable.
    i don't need to worry that i don't have enough money to buy lots of gifts or isn't as important as i thought it was.
    Blessing to you and your have both given me a gift that money just can't buy.

  6. Very moving and beautifully said! So many people do not fully understand the true meaning of Christmas. Society has turned it into a materialistic me holiday...arg! May God bless your friend and her family and send a Christmas miracle!

  7. What lovely sentiments your friend has expressed. Wouldn't it be wonderful if each of us would find one very needy person this holiday and offer them some sort of gift. There is no truer Christmas joy.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this, Elena. As my DD24 says, "It's all crap" - meaning all of our accumulated STUFF. She says that as long as we can be together, and everyone is healthy, that's she needs.
    May God richly bless your friend, and may a Christmas miracle be granted. I will be praying.

  9. You have managed to express in words what my heart has been saying for some time. Thank you so much and I hope you and your family have the most wonderful Christmas ever. Merry Christmas