Friday, December 28, 2018

Best Christmas Ever, Part 2

Season’s Greetings, all! Donna is helping to write and type this blog as my hands and fingers aren’t quite up for the job.

This was the best Christmas ever! So many wonderful events of the past weeks led up to this very special day. There was no way that cancer schmanzer was going to be a Grinch and ruin Christmas.

I was so glad I was discharged from the hospital and returned home under hospice care. I know how fortunate I am to be able to receive such excellent health care. Of course, this also made me realize just how our country’s health care system needs to be reworked, so all people can get the care they need regardless of income.

I was so happy to see our dogs, Max Quigley and MacGyver. Dog snuggles are an important part of life. I certainly missed them—I think the feeling was mutual.

Throughout these past few weeks and then again on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, friends and family visited, called, FaceTimed, mailed cards, or messaged me. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

For years I have wanted a leg lamp, like the one in A Christmas Story. Well, my wish finally came true! I was lucky enough to win a MAJOR award: a leg lamp that came in a box marked FRAGILE! Thank you to my friends at Network for Public Education for this honor.

All of this leads me/us to Christmas Eve. I have always loved Christmas Eve services, but this year Sherlock and his new partner Watson (my catheter) made it impossible for us to attend church. So, we contacted our church to see if the services were live streamed. Rev’d. T.J. sent us the link for the site (audio only: click on Show Archives then the Christmas Eve Mass service; it runs from 31:35-44:38).

We were getting pretty emotional listening to the music because of all the memories of the past Christmases. Rev’d. T.J.’s sermon was on the birth of Jesus and the three shepherds finding baby Jesus in a manger and how ridiculously simple and beautiful and perfect that story is—how that story can be our story, too.

Next thing we knew Rev’d T.J. began talking about driving to Parkview Hospital to visit a parishioner and their spouse who were facing a serious illness and the decisions that would ensue. Oh, my! He was talking about us! Here is what he said:

Last week I went to Parkview Hospital to visit a parishioner and their spouse. If I’m honest about my drive I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. The road 24 to Parkview is normally 20 minutes. This day it was 45. We had just met a couple of weeks previously to discuss the funeral plans for the spouse that was sick. When I read the email sent late in the evening asking me to come to the hospital, I just had that feeling I needed to go as soon as I could. So, when I walked in I expected a rather somber conversation. But as we sat there, they shared with me encounter after encounter that had happened these last few weeks where light and love had worked their way into the seams that are immensely difficult. I was able to hear the story of their decision to get married after being together for 25 years. And of the response of their former students who made it all a possibility. It was lovely and completely unexpected. In the midst of this conversation a social worker came in just to answer, to ask a few questions, but she overheard what we were saying when she came in and asked about the wedding. Well, the couple shared with the social worker the Journal Gazette article about the wedding. And as she read the article, she started to share the story of her two year old healthy daughter who was born weighing just one pound and spent the first few months of her life in that same hospital. So in a place of expected darkness, in a place of expected sadness, what I was left with was light and love and laughter. There in the oncology wing life and love and laughter were heard in the most unexpected of times.

He then proceeded to tie the stories together to show how in the most seemingly impossible, ridiculous situations: too dark for hope too ridiculous for faith—God speaks to us. In the most unforeseen places, God comes not in the perfect moment but the present moment.

His kind words humbled us, filled our hearts with gratitude, and lifted us up. There we were expecting an evening filled with sadness and tears, but it was quite the opposite. We both felt comfort and joy in his message. More importantly, we felt peace and calm. It was indeed the best Christmas ever!

As 2018 comes to a close, and the New Year approaches, share your stories with one another. The world needs more light in it right now. You don’t have to be a person of faith to do that. We are all a part of humanity. Live in the present moment.

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  1. Lovely, thanks for sharing the Christmas Eve story. I am so happy you had the Best Christmas ever. Hugs to you both.

  2. Love the Leg Lamp. Saw that movie for the umpteenth time not long ago. If I ever see it again I will think of you.

  3. Ms. Bush I hope you are feeling OK despite Watson and I am glad you had a merry Christmas and that your pastor had such a lovely sermon about you & Ms. Roof. Your blog entry for 12/21 was so beautiful and so true to form. I have both of you in my thoughts.

  4. So beautiful. So kind. So courageous. We love you. Carol and Jesses