It's that time of year again! I can't believe that it is almost the end of December! Time flies!
This blog post is going to be a little personal but I wanted to share with everyone what the holidays mean to me and hopefully you can get a little something out of it because there is so much more to the holidays than just presents. I think we all get wrapped up in the season of giving and getting and while that is a very fun and exciting part of it, that is not the true meaning. I am not going to get into the whole Jesus thing because I know that may offend some people. Yes, I am Catholic and do believe that the TRUE meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus but I am going to talk a little about the other big picture that many people miss and that is LOVE.
When you think of the holidays what comes to mind first? I picture the scene in The Grinch where everyone is running around franticly trying to get all of their presents in time for Christmas. Why are the holidays associated with stress and chaos? I am not going to lie, up until last year, I was that person. I have always loved the holiday season; the lights, the songs, the movies, but I would stress out HARDCORE about getting the right presents, if I spent enough money on the presents, what food I was going to make etc. What happened that made me realize what the true meaning of the Christmas is, you may ask?
Unfortunately, last year we lost the heart and soul of our family right before Christmas. My grandmother passed away suddenly 3 weeks before Christmas. When I tell you that was probably the hardest thing that I have been through so far in my life, I am not joking. She meant the world to me and my entire family. In the beginning of December I received a call from my mom while I was at work informing me that my grandmother had suffered a stroke while she was on her way to Hershey with my Aunt and Uncle. She was immediately rushed to the hospital. That night I drove to Hershey to see her in the hospital. We were informed by the doctors that she could have surgery but she would never be the same. My parents, aunts and uncles needed to make a huge decision, one that would be best for my grandmother. I went in to sit with her while she slept that night and held her hand. I will never forget the grip she had on my hand. She was not awake, but I knew she knew that I was there. To this day, I wish I could go back to that moment. For the next 3 days I drove back and forth from home to Hershey to see her. The hospital had to give our family our own waiting room because at any moment there were about 20 of us there.
The night of December 4th, my family had decided to take shifts staying with my grandmother since nobody had gotten sleep. I, however, had a gut feeling that I had to stay there all night. Me, my brother, sister-in-law and boyfriend (now fiancé) all decided to stay there all night. We sat in the waiting room while all the members of my family came and went. We colored, talked, reminisced, laughed, cried and bonded. Around 4:00am we decided we were going to go back to the hotel and try to catch some sleep. As we were packing up to leave, we saw my dad walking down the hallway to come get us. I knew that look and that walk. My grandmother had passed away.
I tell you this story, not because it is sad but because this is the moment that I knew what mattered the most in life...love, family and happiness. My grandmother taught me so much about life. She was the most selfless, loving, caring, generous person I have ever known. I have an amazing guardian angel looking down on me every day. With all of this tragedy happening right before Christmas, I thought that it was going to be the worst Christmas ever, but it wasn't. I was surrounded by the love and comfort of my family. I have never felt as much love as I did last Christmas. For the first time I realized what Christmas is all about. It is not about gift giving or food. It is about love, family and happiness.
This Christmas, try not to focus on the presents or the cooking. Those are all great but you will forget about those things next year. What do you want to remember for years to come? For me, it is the feeling that I had last year. Yes, I suffered a great loss but with that came a family bond that I will never forget. This year I am making sure to focus on family, love and happiness. I thank God every day that I am blessed with a truly amazing and loving fiancé, a family that would do anything for me, a crazy dog, a roof over my head, food to eat, and my health. What are you thankful for? Because these are the important things in life and the things to be grateful for over the holidays.
Have a very special and memorable Christmas!
This blog is dedicated to my grandmother, the best grandmother and guardian angel I could ever ask for! I love and miss you so much. Merry Christmas!