It is always a surprise to me, that the Christmas holiday season has rolled around again. It seems like yesterday I was putting Christmas ornaments back into their proper places in cardboard boxes. Now I am looking at not one but two pretty Christmas trees both decorated.
My son, Doug, had put our tree up and decorated before he became ill, and then my friends from Jeff’s Digitex brought me a smaller tree all decorated with pretty things and a special libation. The last will be my secret, thank you. I’m smiling, friends thinking about what a nice gesture this was. Suzie brought my gift, and we had a nice visit. It really helped to just sit and talk and laugh for a little while.
I have been told Doug will be in the hospital for from one to two weeks more, which means that he won’t be home for Christmas. Right now, however, all I want is for him to get well; it doesn’t matter that I won’t get to celebrate this special day with him. My son and I learned back in 1984, to live with almost losing my granddaughter, Lara, and actually losing my husband Van, all in one month. Doug is fighting a terrible illness.
I am keeping the home fires burning by taking care of our puppies and sorting through the usual normal every day issues, the holiday mail and the regular bills, and doing a lot of praying along with
family and friends. People keep asking me about Doug’s condition, enough to say that pain pills weren’t enough, he is still very ill, but getting the care he so desperately needed.
One of my boys, Dean, called and we sat and talked for at least an hour talking about all of those bygone holidays when the boys were little. Doug loved the holidays probably more than any of the other of my sons. The sight of him rushing to dress up in the cowboy outfit he got when he was about 8 years old is burned in my brain. That outfit was black and red, and the picture of him — hands on his hips, hat tilted
on his head — is one I smile thinking about. And then there was the time he finally got a big, two-wheel bike.
Dean remembered, especially, that first Christmas we spent in the West at Santa Barbara. Money so short, and the little buys with a toy each from Woolworths were thrilled that their older brothers and I didn’t have to work that day. We got to spend a great time on the beach and came home to watch tv while I cooked a nice roast chicken dinner. Used to snow and cold, on that special day, it was a revelation to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior with sunshine streaming through the windows and watching the waves along the Pacific shore.
Of course, I have some special holiday memories when my husband Van and I lived in Idaho. He complained about my making him climb up a huge hill, step over a small stream, all to get the most perfect, 10-foot tree I could find. However, he did tell everybody that we had the most beautiful tree ever. It was such fun, that year, to have friends with us for a beautiful church service and then a great turkey dinner.
We had one more holiday together — the next year up in Lowman — and that was the year Van got to play Santa Claus for our neighbor’s grandchildren, something Van talked about right up until the day he died the following March. I will always smile thinking about him coming around the corner on a sled, a huge bag of toys on his shoulder, and him doing that ho, ho, ho routine. What a beautiful way for a nice,
sweet man to spend his very last Christmas Eve.
Friends have invited me to spend time with them, but I’m hoping Don will get here to be with me, and if possible we will get to visit a short while with Doug. My daughter-in-law Earlene has already said it would be OK if she and her hubby, my son Don, don’t get to spend the day together. And, of course, it will all depend on here Doug is and what mother nature sends us in weather. I will take whatever comes this next two or three weeks. All I really want is for Doug to continue getting the care he so needed, and that God answers our prayers and he gets well.
God bless you all and Merry Christmas!
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.