My Christmas Story

christmas story

A celebration of the birth of our Lord. It’s supposed to be a happy time…a time we’re surrounded by our friends and family. But sadly, that’s not always true for some of us.

For some, Christmas contains memories that are so painful, we’d rather just skip it altogether.

As I watch the hustle and bustle of people rushing about, searching desperately to find the right gift, (often times to be given to people they barely speak with all year), I think back to December of 2000.

My mom was 51 years old, and she had cancer. We were trying to make the best of things. She managed to muster enough strength to do some Christmas shopping, and had presents picked out and neatly wrapped up for my (then only) two children. We were having faith that she was going to be okay. Even though the doctors said other than the chemo, there was nothing else they could do and gave us no hope.

I prayed, and believed God…the best I knew how anyway. Frankly, I wouldn’t even let myself entertain the thought that she might not be okay, because that was unimaginable to me.She did good for awhile. She would go have her chemo and then we would head out for a fun filled day of shopping and lunch, our favorite things to do. People couldn’t believe how well she was doing for someone going through the trials that she was.

But by about day three, she was exhausted. And as time went on, she slept more and more, and I watched her energy slowly drain away.  My mom fought hard until the end. I don’t think she ever let on how she really felt, and I think that’s because she was trying to spare us all from the pain. So she kept it to herself. She never really asked for help.

Thanksgiving of that year, other than being pretty tired, she was doing okay.

But by December 12, she was gone.

She declined rapidly her last week…her appetite waned and her mind became clouded. She had fallen the night before she passed. My mom was only bedridden for less than a day. The day we had finally called hospice in (in fact, they were at the house for a meeting when), she died.


My mom was my best friend. There’s something about the unconditional love you receive from a mother that can never be replaced…not by any other relationship you have, no matter how good. It’s just not the same.

Even now as Christmas rolls around, I remember. It’s been 14 years, and the pain is still there, quietly waiting the whole year long to peek it’s head out during the Christmas season. Mom’s favorite season.

So as I sit at Christmastime enjoying my wonderful family this year, I will let the joy and love for my family take a front seat, and let the pain once again quietly slip to the rear. But I will not forget.

I will hang the multitude of angel ornaments on our tree, one for each year mom has been gone.

I will love my children fiercely with the love that only a mother can give, and I will find joy in the small, seemingly insignificant moments.

I will embrace my husband and love him passionately, and forgive his imperfections.

I will make the most of each day and live it to the fullest, and I will chase my dreams…until the day I die, I won’t stop trying.

Mom would have wanted it that way.


Lovingly dedicated to

Toni Gayle Hamilton

August 16, 1949- December 12, 2000

I miss you, Mom.



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