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Mother isn’t doing so well. She’s been showing signs of depression in her deterioration and lack of hope of going home any time soon. I persuaded her to try medication. She did but it had to be stopped after a only few days as it made her quite knackered. Last weekend I got several calls from various relatives worried she had been poisoned with mild implications this was all my fault.  We are determined to get her home for the holidays if only for the day. Brother #3 is going to rent a van that accommodates a wheelchair to get her home at least some time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – lord willing.

In my attempt to coordinate everything I see I am taking on my usual assigned family role of Time-keeper/Whistle-blower/Referee.  Father hints there’s work to be done prior to Christmas Eve such as tidying up the house (which I imagine is quite bad) and get food ordered bought and cooked.  While I want Mother to have a good Christmas (which may be her last) I want a good Christmas as well. I want a traditional family get-together the type Andy Williams sings about, all of us hohohoing around the usual eats in the same house one last time prior to its probable sale in 2020.

I see a lot of folks in my practice who don’t have jolly holidays because what they have now is not what it used to be. Usually it is the death of a family member who had the base for everyone. Now that (fill in the blank) isn’t with us anymore the survivors have gone their separate ways and Christmas just isn’t what it used to be. There is a lot of sorrow over this. Christmas = loss.  This is made worse by our tendency to wax nostalgic prettily painting the past up as more warm and happy than it was.

My challenge isn’t how to cook a pot roast or find out where Mother stores the Christmas things but my own expectations. I cannot recreate a childhood-type Christmas.  If you can’t have tradition (I tell my patients) have an adventure. Best to do something different that doesn’t maudlin memories attached to it that evoke emotions of deficit.

At the time of writing this Brothers #2 and #3 have communicated they are willing to make some the Spo-traditional holiday dishes and imperial tidbits. I won’t have to do it all myself. A relief.

We wont be having a lavish Christmas-morning under-the-tree-bonanza but no one seems worried about that. Food and good cheer – and Mother’s happiness – are what we are aiming for.  I just hope I’ve brought enough Ritalin for everybody.


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December 2019

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018