The Ghost of Christmas Past

I am a mother with a sentimental heart. I have saved nearly every precious thing from my children’s young lives. Every gift they have ever given me (except for appliances that wore out) are here in my home or garden. My daughters have become the possessors of their boxes of things like their school papers, baby books, certificates, nic-nacs etc….but I still have my son’s who never really wanted his.

Christmas has its good and bad memories. My children have all good memories of theirs because we made every effort for them to have those things we did not. Mostly, we were not alcoholic parents. My husband and I have sad memories of Christmas past because both of our fathers loved the bottle. They contributed to our bad memories of those times. Never enough money for gifts but plenty of money for the booze. Now, that’s not to say we did not get gifts because we did but the bigger gift would have been sober fathers who were lovingly engaged in our Christmas. Thankfully, we never allowed their lead to be ours. My husband has never staggered into our celebration of family time on Christ’s birthday. Brandon drew a picture of my remembrance of a Christmas once when my drunken dad had to be driven home by co-workers on Christmas Eve. My father and mother had attended the party where everyone was drinking. Although my mother did not drink she could not drive either. We children were actually out in the car!! I was 11 yrs., my brother, 9 yrs,  and my sister, 5. We waited out in a hangar on the air force base where the party was being held. I think about the lax laws concerning the welfare of children and how my parents would be arrested if it had been today.

I don’t think of that time except for at Christmas. It doesn’t bother me anymore but it is a memory that is here to stay. I hope my children will always remember our Christmases with love and joy. Not the rendition in the following picture that accompanied a poem I wrote for the book “Human Conditions…a collection of poetry.” Brandon and I collaborated on this literary effort. He illustrated my poetry. The poem is “Sobering Santa.”  It actually describes the day I remember.

Sobering Santa

Mom and I walked and walked

you up and down the hall

on that Christmas Eve ~

your slurred sorries

punishing and hollow,

a cruel carol to our ears.

The vanity of holidays

in a child’s eye,

eclipsed anticipation

of fantasy and wonder.

Truth staggered giftless

into memory,

ornamental and bright.

Even in my forty-sixth year,

your weight still upon

my eleven year old shoulder,

leaves me wishing for Santa.


This was an entry written in my journal  the year after my son’s passing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010
I wanted to find my son’s personalized photo album I had made him the year before he married but I never did. We had taken all that had been left behind in the storage that we were blessed to have but it was not among those things. I was sad because ..besides Brandon telling me it had been his favorite gift of all time…it had the only copy of a poem I had written for him. Just a while ago, I was thumbing through a drawer that had papers and long forgotten projects in them and I came across the poems I had written for the girls…..I turned the poem over about Vanessa to find I had written Brandon’s on the back!! I was elated only to fall from my mountain….the words are eerily prophetic some how….so very sad….my boy dreamer never to live out his dreams…..

To Brandon
As a child….
with your head in the clouds
you dreamed you could rise
above the adversity of reality.
As a youth…..
you still believed.
And we wished you well~
how could we tell you not
to dream.
But things changed
as they always do…
and you are a young man
with plans on this green earth…..
where life is harsh ~unfair at times,
the worth of dreams like dimes.
Twilight comes early, son.
So live the truth, cling to hope,
…..and dream.
We could never tell you not to.

Dear Son, Never in a million years would I have ever thought this poem would be so significant as it is now. I know this….you are living as never before in a place where dreams are vague memories of an earth no longer real to you….Heaven is so much higher than those clouds….and yes, twilight did come too early…..but Light is where you are …in Love….that, dear son…is your reality….where we will be joined forever. I love you.


6 thoughts on “The Ghost of Christmas Past

  1. I’m glad you found that poem, Dale-it was “time” for you to find it, is how I look at it. I used to think along the lines of this snippet of your comment:

    “…dreams are vague memories of an earth no longer real to you…”

    There was a kind of sharp divide for me, during my early grief, in regard to my beloveds’ knowledge and/or desire for knowledge of earthly life, after leaving for Heaven. Kind of a black and white difference- in how I thought they related to me-before and after-their physical death.

    Now I see them as both continuously actively interested in-and sporadically “involved”, in my life…AND actively enjoying all that Heaven offers. Simultaneously. I feel that they already know and understand God’s saving ability and perhaps future events -always tempered with God’s ever-presence, to instantly enlighten and restore any possible negativity.

    “It’s you…only better” was the slogan for some long ago commercial. But that is how I feel they are now…”themselves” still- yet with loving interest in me, and knowledge and interest in earth events in general…”better” now, as they are purified through God.

    When my late husband first went to Heaven, I was beside myself with anguish over the fact that I was no longer “special” in the way that married couples are “special” to one another. I felt then, that he now “loves everybody as much as he used to just love me!” A friend helped my thinking along, by telling me that “Love is not quantitative.” Which explained it perfectly yet succinctly. Now I feel that it is entirely probable, that “specialness” can still be had, even though love for others has increased exponentially (in Heaven)…

    I feel that Brandon still cares about what’s going on with earth (in particular you!) and STILL enjoys all that Heaven can offer. I base this feeling primarily on the fact that Jesus still cares about us, and since they are with God, it must be “OK” then, to continue to stay interested and informed on all earthly matters, especially in regard to those loved so much…(and that would be you, sister!)

    With much love and appreciation for both you and your blog,


    • Thank you, Donna. I think as a child and really, throughout my entire life as a Christian, I have had my own imagination of life in Heaven. There is so much we don’t know. I do believe we have a Godly intuitive wisdom as Christians that gives us peace about Heaven. Trust in God is key.I do know that because I trust Him that it is well!

      I like how you explain that “specialness” between your husband and yourself in Heaven. Why not? Your explanation about Brandon being fully engaged in my life is comforting, too.

      Love and hugs to you dear friend.

    • Thank you, I hope you will enjoy your time off from blogging and be back very soon. I know your new job will require a lot of you but I know you will be there near Andrew. I pray your whole family will have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to your return. XO

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