Christmas is closing in, and the closer it gets, the more I think of last Christmas. Usually, we spend the holiday with Daughter ReloVertigo and her kids. But because of scheduling conflicts, we spent last Christmas with Mother and Daddy ReloVertigo, my two brothers, and their families. It was the first time in many years the three of us siblings had been together on a holiday with our parents. The mood was festive, as are most family holidays. But this particular year we all wanted to make especially bright, even if we never spoke of it to one another.

My Middle Brother (middle of the three siblings, I am the oldest) and his wife had four kids, two teens and two younger children. His oldest daughter, whom I always called Beautiful Girl, had been very sick for over a year. But at this time, she was doing so well. She was able to laugh and talk, get around just fine by herself, and even came up with the idea for a funny family picture.

But we all knew that life was very fragile. She had been fighting a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor. For a year after surgery, she had experienced shrinkage, and then no growth of the tumor. But some of us had seen faint signs of what we feared was a return of growth. I think, with the exception of her parents, we’d all secretly done our own research, and never discussed it. I knew that if the growth began again, her disease would progress rapidly, and the arc of her life would be quite short.

But Christmas Eve, the big celebration in my family, was so wonderful for all of us. There was so much laughter, so many hugs, so many smiles. None of it was forced for Beautiful’s benefit. All was genuine, and there seemed to be more love in the room. Mother ReloVertigo takes an annual picture of her grandkids, to put on a calendar, sometimes a Christmas card the next year. This year, when the picture was taken, I could see the tears in Mother’s eyes. That was the closest to sadness there was the whole night.

My brother, Beautiful Girl, and the rest of their family went to their other side of the family for Christmas Day. We had happy and bittersweet memories to reflect upon from the night before.

The tumor was eventually confirmed to be growing. The disease took its course at a terrifying rate. By summer, our Beautiful Girl had passed.

And we are back, now, to Christmas. Beautiful had a rock solid Christian faith. She loved this holiday, and not just because of the presents. I have determined to remember her with joy this time. Her laugh, her smile, her love, the way she doted on my parents and played with babies and little children. Even the way she teased me about pulling my shirt over my nose and mouth when I detected a bad odor. “I need my Downy!” The Mr uses that one to this day.

I love and will miss my Beautiful Girl all the days of my life. And I’m glad we had that one last Christmas together, that she could fully enjoy. And this year, my faith gives me the hope that she is celebrating with the Christ Child Himself.

This post was inspired by The Daily Prompt

  1. Beautifully written. I felt as if I was there with you. I have tears in my eyes now. My son passed away when he was 16 back in 2003. Not a year goes by that I don’t miss him dearly…..

    • relovertigo says:

      Thank you for the compliment. And I’m so sorry for your loss. I haven’t lost a child of my own, but have seen the destruction it has wrought on my brother. I pray for you peace, as you remember your beloved boy this holiday season.

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