Merry Christmas, a day late!
I thought about posting this yesterday, but Christmas is a time to spend together with family and friends. This year was my son's first with his girlfriend and her 2 year old son, so he got to experience for the first time, all the craziness that goes with making accommodations for two sets of parents and grandparents. It brought a smile to my face, watching my first born take those steps in manhood, a rite of passage I didn't even know existed until it happened.
With 50+ Christmas' under my belt, I sat and thought long and hard about the most memorable holiday experiences of my life. Most are happy, family and friends; the worst stands out every year: the year my father was in intensive care with an unknown infection and a fever bordering on 104 degrees.
My father went into the hospital the first week of December 1982, with a high fever and general aches and pains of unknown origin. Three days into the stay, he suffered the first seizure, while I was on the phone with my mother. Racing to join her from three different directions, my siblings and I made our way there. The news - Daddy had a stroke. Then came the phone call I dreaded, come to the hospital now, your father is dying.
Upon arrival I was informed my strong, invincible father had a hole in his heart. Conferring with my brother the doctor in South Carolina the decision was made to move Daddy to Emory Hospital, where my brother had a friend in the cardiac department. Since he was too sick to move by ambulance, a Life Flight helicopter was arranged.
The worst feeling I ever had was watching the 'copter leave not knowing that when it landed he would be alive. All three of us had our own cars, so we each drove across town, reconnecting in the parking lot. As we walked into Emory, there was the Life Flight crew walking back out to leave for another mission. Seeing us, they stopped to tell us Daddy made it through the flight and was in the Coronary Care Unit.
Speaking with my brother by pay phone, I sat by the window of his room, watching the action through a crack at the bottom of the blinds and relaying everything to John as he drove through the night to join us at Emory.
Everything eventually calmed down and Daddy stayed at Emory for 9 months before returning home a most different man than the one who left. But I will never forget that first Christmas without him at home, when my sister and I decorated a palm tree in Mother's living room with bows and ribbons and called it a tree.
Daddy died 9 year's later, 22 years old come next March, but I will always associate his illness with Christmas. It makes each one precious, knowing that at any moment it could be the last you have.
Happy Holidays, and as today is the first day - Happy Kwanzaa for those who celebrate. Please stop back by starting on New Year's Day and continuing for a week for a chance to win a $25 gift card to either Amazon.com or B&N.com; or a signed copy of my e-book, "Catalyst - Guardian Rising".