The Christmas Grotto Next Door

Today I was reminded that a year ago, I was visiting a hospice on an almost daily basis. My friend loved Christmas. Her lounge was always like the Grotto of a particularly enthusiastic Santa, which had been decorated by elves on steroids. One year when I had been ill and had been particularly struggling, she had helped me bring Christmas out of its hiding place in the shed, (as I had conducted my annual battle with my very own Christmas Grinch) She had loved every moment of Christmas and had always celebrated with the excitement of a preschooler.

My dear friend had gone to watch my daughter with me, as she had sung carols down at the mall with her school and had smiled supportively as they had limped their way through. She had bought me a star Christmas light for our window, which had meant that all I had to do was plug it in, rather than struggle alone, with the Christmas grinch complaining in the background. My Christmas star has stopped working this year after many years faithful service.(I think it has finally had enough. It has done its job and illuminated her way to heaven.)

As I have muddled my way through this season, I have recalled how even last year she had still spent much of her last few months, making a myriad of Christmas trinkets. She had just adored Christmas, always shopping for it for months in advance, excitedly showing me all her mid year bargains. She had worked almost all year to give everybody a good Christmas. Fifty one weeks a year she was preparing for Christmas, only taking a brief rest to enjoy the actual festivities themselves.

I had prayed fervantly that she would see one last Christmas but had known in my heart, it was not meant to be. Instead my mind ponders whether the celestial music now gets replaced ( at least for a while) each year by an orchestra of dozens of dancing Santas jiggling snowmen and tinkling bells. (95)


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