To many the Christmas represent a time of stress, a time of joy, a time to celebrate, a time to eat, a time to love and a time to rejoice, a time to be with family, and a time to go to mass. My 2015 Christmas season followed many, if not all of the descriptions above. Growing up holidays meant very little to my family, even Christmas. As I have had children of my own, my ideal Christmas celebration includes mass and celebrating the birth of our Savior, opening a few gifts and spending some down time relaxing and loving. To find out, it was this and more……
To add to the excitement of Christmas, my oldest son’s birthday is on December 26. We have vowed to make this special and separate from Christmas. This year, was separate in a different way. I received the call I had been expecting and dreading for years. Mom was in the critical care unit in Wichita and had been unresponsive. Sadly, I wished my son happy birthday, had breakfast with him, and with his permission left town. It was a difficult trip as I have had this same drive a month ago, missing my second sons 5th birthday celebration. This time felt different, it felt like goodbye. Come to find out, my mom, who has been an alcoholic for most of my life, had too much to drink the night before, became very sick and started bleeding from her esophagus. Emergency surgery was done to stop as much bleeding as possible. Unfortunately, years of alcohol had shut down her liver functions and she was sedated to try to relax her body. Sparing the details of 3 long days, my mom was admitted to hospice care on December 29th at 6:00 PM after making the difficult choice to take her off the vent. 7 hours later, mom passed away at 59 years young on December 30.
Why do I write this? Maybe it is therapy. Maybe it is sorrow. My mom and I had a very bad relationship for many years, in fact, most of my life. In the past 10 years, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we have spoken. I find it a God moment, that in this year of Mercy, I was trying to show my mother the mercy and forgiveness needed to reconcile our relationship, even just a little. My mom was not Catholic, nor even baptized. After consulting with Fr. Pat, I baptized my mother on December 26. Fr. Pat was amazing during this process and more helpful than I could have imagined.
If you are still reading, thank you for listening to my rant, but this is where I need your help, a new years resolution of sorts. Point blank……..do you have a will? Do you have your final wishes outlined? If not you, your parents? Mom had nothing, but a paid on death on her checking account. No will, no wishes, not paper work, no anything. This has been the most stressful 2 weeks of my life. I am fortunate that mom has a very small estate, at least in my opinion. I can’t imagine if she had more. Please, for your sake, your children’s sake, your family’s sake…..make a plan and follow through with finalizing things. I have to take this advice for myself and my family as well as trying to talk my Dad into the same thing (parents have been divorced for over 20 years with no surviving spouses of their own). I am my father’s only child. I know this is a difficult talk to have and a difficult though, our mortality, to think about, but the stress I have had lately could have been less, had some plans be made.
Sorry for the rant and randomness. Have a blessed 2016.