Christmas Eve Decision -- A poem

 White Christmas in Georgia - Once Every  Twenty Years
White Christmas in Georgia - Once Every Twenty Years | Source



My daughter-in-law has MS.

Multiple Sclerosis.

One of the crueler diseases,

coming and going,

with no rhyme or reason,

mostly worsening.

Incomprehensible disease.

Extensive neurological damage.

Pain, stiffness, numbness,

knotted muscles, and more pain.


Her life is a round of doctors, clinics, multiple tests, medications.

There are frightening procedures and toxic IV medications.

She never actually improves; at most the degeneration slows.


Making plans is difficult, hard to know how and when to plan,

each tomorrow merely a bad day or a truly distressing day.

Her family are in Mobile - a Christmas visit long overdue.


The six hour drive is physically impossible for her, but Christmas Eve

around 10:00 pm she wistfully mentioned her desire to go home.

My son has been quite ill, he cannot make the trip with her, but

eight to nine hours on a Greyhound will cripple her for several weeks.


She sighed, “There is an express bus leaving for Mobile tonight.”

How long? “Only five hours.” When? “Tonight, at 11:30.” Well, are you going?

“I wasn’t sure… I only have two days. I didn’t pack, no toothbrush, it’s too late.”

Do you want to go, to see them? Is this Important? “Yes, but,

Greyhound is way downtown and we’ll never make it in time.”


My son is reluctant to drive in a city he doesn’t know, especially at night .

It is a moonless night and dreadfully foggy; he is tired, wants to go home.

“Maybe you could plan a trip in a few days . . . .” he suggests.

MS is defiantly unpredictable, resisting normal pragmatic planning.


They are wavering, both of them, the moment will soon be gone.

I want to collapse – I cleaned and cooked and hosted all day.

I hand her a new toothbrush. “Come on, I’ll ride with you. Let's leave now!”

“But, I don’t have extra clothes, and we might not make it in time.”

I turn to my son, “It can be our Christmas Eve adventure, yes?”

I hold my breath, praying he will make the generous decision.


He stands up, looks thoughtful, grabs the car keys, announces loudly that

In three minutes the car will be headed for the Atlanta bus station.

The fog is heavy, the road hard to see, but traffic into the city is light.

Greyhound is in a rough part of town with twisted one-way streets.

We arrive ten minutes before departure -- four shiny black buses wait.


In fifteen minutes they are back, she embarrassed, deeply apologetic.

The terminal was terribly crowded, so many people trying to get home . . . .

Greyhound stopped selling tickets twenty minutes before departure time.

They pleaded and cajoled…no luggage to load…the answer was still no.


We headed down the fog enshrouded labyrinthine streets.

Slowly, we began talking about our Christmas Eve adventure.

I imagined us as knights, perhaps reluctant, but willing to engage the enemy,

only the battlefield was deserted, the conflict postponed, our honor intact.


Missing the Greyhound was unfortunate, but truly, unimportant.

But the willingness to traverse the cold dark city streets mattered.

It mattered Christmas Eve and it will matter for many years to come.


Christmas Eve 2012



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Comments Are Welcome and Appreciated 59 comments

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

True insight into the bravery of others and the unselfish love some give. Vote up and beautiful. God bless.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 3 years ago from South Carolina

What a powerful Christmas Eve story.

Yes, the gesture of support and impulsive acting to make your daughter-in-law's wish come true did matter and will matter for years to come.

For those with chronic, debilitating illness, planning in advance often isn't possible, or if things are planned those plans are often thwarted by a change in health status. Therefore, seizing a moment of opportunity can be an adventurous alternative, even if it doesn't work out in the end.

Knowing, however, that loved ones care enough to go that extra mile, means all the difference.

Hope you and your family enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

Thank you for sharing this with us.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Truly beautiful. For some reason it made me smile and remember; We only regret those things we did not do. Plus I love roadtrip adventures.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Yes, the willingness to do what she asked is definitely what counts. It is what you will take into the future.

The video of the tornado bearing down on Mobile Christmas Day comes to mind...


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 3 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Thank you for sharing the story of your adventure. It is often our willingness to step outside of comfortable norms that leads us to our greatest growth, best memories and most beautiful stories.

Namaste


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

The human spirit soars to untold heights and in the doing, we become one with all. whonu


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Blessings to you too, Mary. It was a moving evening, an unexpected teachable moment. Take care. ~~Theresa


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

It is an ugly, unforgiving disease, and you captured the realities of it perfectly here....excellent work Theresa!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for such a meaningful comment Happyboomernurse. You are right, especially for those suffering from such debilitating diseases, concern and support are sometimes all we have to offer. Thank you for your holiday wishes. :) Blessings to you and yours in the New Year.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

This is a touching and sad piece, yet one that shows a willingness to embark on that quest, that adventure. I hope she gets to go soon.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Eric - I am glad it made you smile and remember .... And you are absolutely right -- we regret what we do not make the effort to do. If we could all only learn that important lesson while we are young. :) Take care.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

We can give so much and sometimes, those who have to work hard to give, give the most--I found this to be so inspirational--thank you


Patriette profile image

Patriette 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Bittersweet... I am in your daughter-in-law's shoes, as you know. I hope 2013 will bring her and all who love her some peace and contentment. Beautiful winter photos.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

what strength and a powerful message for us who sometimes just take things for granted.. a wonderful share thank you :).. oh and I love the photos


Marcia Ours 3 years ago

Very well-written. It is sad what some have to go through, especially during the holidays! Beautiful pictures!


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Theresa, a beautiful story of love and sacrifice, MS is truly a horrible condition both for the suffer and the loved ones, but you and your family have something many don't; you have love, a pure and unselfish love.

The images are beautiful.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello RT - Thanks for reading and commenting. I trust that you and your family are well. Many Blessings! ~~Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for reading Deborah. I love your sentence -- you summed up the truth of such experiences beautifully. I hope that your holidays are full of friends, family, and blessings. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

whonunuwho - What a wonderful and true response. Thank you. Blessings! ~~Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Bill. When we got back to my house, we sat up talking about everything under the sun until 3:00 am, when I made them go home (thankfully only a 20 minute drive). I slept late of course and woke up thinking about the significance and virtue of seizing the moment, then the poem just happened. :) Blessings upon you and yours. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Jim - We are going to get her home soon, one way or another (She has IV infusions coming up and that will knock her flat for a couple of weeks, but then she should feel a little better for a month or so). I may drive her myself when I get back from DC. Many blessings be upon you and yours in the coming New Year. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Audrey - It was an intense and unexpected experience. Only a day later did I begin to ponder what had happened and think about the value that lay even in missing a bus. Blessings to you and yours. :)


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 3 years ago from Central Virginia

Theresa, bless you and your son for trying to fulfill your daughter-in-laws Christmas Eve wish. That is pure unselfish love and true dedication. What a gift you are to her. If she still feels she needs to go home, I have no doubt you will make it happen. Thank you for allowing us a personal glimpse into your family. When you become aware of another's struggle, you appreciate your own sometimes. Keeping your family in my prayers!


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

That was a wonderful story full of Christmas spirit. Sorry it didn't work out for her but at least you helped and did your best. Hope all your wishes and dreams come true in 2013 and I hope she'll be able to get home.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Frank - We do all take far too much for granted. I know I do. I am glad this touched others and not just me. The photos are from a freak snowstorm about six years ago. I ran around like a crazy person with my little cheap camera, because we never get snow like that north of Atlanta. :) Take care. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good to see you again Marcia. :) It is very sad and heart-rending. I love the pictures, too. Thank you. And many blessings to you in the coming year. :)


jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

This is one of the best Christmas poems I have read this year. I felt some tears welling up. Oh...Thank you for much for writing and sharing this poem. I hope you holidays went well. Jamie


AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

phdast7, thank you for your compassionate poem.

I don't know if you're familiar at all with Reiki, but it has been my experience that people with MS often experience a lot of relief from the pain and fatigue associated with the disease if they can receive Reiki on a regular basis. Family members who learn the technique can provide loving care by using Reiki. You may want to look into it. Reiki is a healing technique, and not a religion, and is compatible to those of any (or no) faith. All my best, Aldene.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Evening tobusiness - It is a dreadful disease and we are trying to make sure that dealing with the disease is always cushioned by our love for the person. I love the images too, because we almost never get snow. :0 Thanks so much for reading and commenting. :) Blessings!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Linda - We tried and we will try again and succeed. She has an IV infusion coming up in a few days and as soon a she is back on her feet we are going to try again. Her struggles certainly put all of ours in perspective. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and thank you for your warm and encouraging comments. ~~Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Patriette - Thank you for reading and commenting. You know the reality of this disease like most of us never will. We will pray for as much peace and contentment as possible for both our families. I have not forgotten about the recipe you requested....I just never have it handy when I sit down at the computer. Soon I promise. :)


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This is beautifully written and the photos are great. May you and your family have a blessed New Years!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 3 years ago

Theresa - In agreement, beautifully written story poem with incredible winter photographs as a tribute to this day and year in time. A beautiful memory of spirit, not to be forgotten. Blessings and healing light, Debby


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Gypsy - We will get her home in the next few weeks, maybe even for New Year's. We just have to be flexible and work around her health issues and multiple doctor's appointments. Hope you had a good Christmas and a Blessed New Year! :) ~~Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Bless your heart, Jamie. That is one of the best compliments I have ever received. My tears were certainly flowing when it flowed out of me/ It just about wrote itself. You are so very welcome. My holidays have been very busy, reading all the assigned books before going to DC in January, but they have have been good as well. I hope you and your family are well. Many Blessings for the New Year! ~~Theresa


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This story/poem is so surreal and yet so lovely. God bless your daughter in law. God bless all of you for embarking on such an adventure with her. I hope she does make it to Mobile sometime in the future!

Happy New Year Theresa!


Vacation Trip profile image

Vacation Trip 3 years ago from India

Good poem, i like reading it. Voted UP. Am new to HP, following you now :)


lelanlelan 3 years ago

An answer to MS.

visit: w a t e r c u r e s a n y t h i n g . c o m

John Ellis

Water treatment that has stopped the suffering for people with MS.

...One could say, it cures the entire family!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello AMF - No, I am not familiar with Reiki, but I will certainly do some research and talk to my daughter-in-law about it. She is open to a variety of therapies and approaches because there is not much that traditional medicine can do for her, at least not without some pretty awful side effects. Thank you for letting me know about Reiki. I hope you and yours have a Blessed new Year!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you rebecca for your kind comments. I was so excited to see snow in Atlanta five years ago, I ran around with my little camera like a crazy person. I found that hard copy pictures (not digital) scan into a computer quite well. :) Have a wonderful New Year!


AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

You're very welcome; I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and productive New Year. I think 2013 holds some good things!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

What kind and generous comments Debby. The snow was such a treat for those of us in metro Atlanta. We thought we had died and gone to heaven where it was always snowy. :) Take good care in the coming year. Blessings. :)


arb profile image

arb 3 years ago from oregon

Theresa, a beautiful Christmas Eve experience. It is, in the end, the condition of our hearts that matter. Well done, good and faithful servant.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for reading and commenting Teresa. And what a terrific and apt description . . . it was both "surreal and lovely" at the same time. After her next IV infusion, we will get her there by "hook or by crook" as my grandmother used to say. Hadn't thought of that phrase in years and years. :) Blessed New Year!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Welcome to HubPages VT, where there is a little bit of everything. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Blessed New Year. Thanks for commenting!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you lelan. I will certainly check it out and pass the information along to my daughter-in-law.. May you have many blessings in the new year. :)


lelanlelan 3 years ago

You are welcome!

God bless you!


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Thank you so much for sharing this one. It truly touched my heart. This is truly what love is about.

Your photos are beautiful. I was hoping for a white Christmas but instead we got a white Boxing Day. I spent a quite but nice Christmas with my family.

I am praying that a cure is found for M.S.

Voted up, away and sharing

Happy New Year and God bless!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Alan - It was a beautiful experience. And I am thankful it is the heart that matters, because often the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It is good that good intentions matter, not just results. I trust you have had wonderful holidays with lots of family around. I know there are people who get depressed after the holidays, but I rather look forward to the solitude. Crowds and solitude -- each wears out their welcome, but taken in turn, and in measure, they make for a good life. Blessings. ~~Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Sue -

You are very welcome. Glad it touched your heart; the experience certainly touched mine.

We seldom get a White Christmas. I think I took those pictures five years ago. :)

We shall both keep praying for cures for MS and the many other debilitating diseases.

Thank you for your concern and well wishes. Have a Blessed New Year! ~~Theresa


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

Heartfelt and emotional Christmas Tale. Blessings to you all and thank you for sharing.


lelanlelan 3 years ago

MS reversal:

j o h n e l l i s . c o m /

get the machine,

drink the water,

...your life is changed!


Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 3 years ago

I sincerely hope you mention this in your classes this semester. Perhaps you could take your name off of it and let a random history class extract meaning from it. Could be interesting. Seems like you had an interesting Christmas. Hope the conference (it may not have been a conference you went to. I just remember it was an important once-or twice for you-in a life time thing) went well!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello shining - Just got back from a research trip to DC and it was 50-55 the whole week. And in January! Thank you for your very kind comments. I hope your January is going well. Take care. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

lelanlelan - Thank you. I will pass this information on to my daughter-in-law.


lelanlelan 3 years ago

Theresa,

I am happy that you will pass on the information. I hope that after her success using this water, that you will let others know of your success so that people do not need to suffer from MS.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dallas - That is a good idea. I may do that and with my name off, students would feel much freer to comment. It was an interesting Christmas for several reasons and one of them was that I was doing a lot of "assigned" reading for the Holocaust Memory and Monument Seminar. It was a great experience, although draining and tiring.

Total immersion in the topic. We were in class from 10-6 every day (hour break for lunch) listening to lectures, Holocaust survivors, memorial architects, watching videos, touring the museum exhibits, and then more lectures. I have pages and pages of notes. :) And then there was 2-3 hours of reading every night. But it was more than worth it. :)


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Heaven has a solution for every problem. Living in accordance with nature and Divine Law miraculously heals all wounds. The body is intelligent and always tries to regain balance. Have you heard of the Gerson Therapy? It consists of raw juices from vegetables that are organically grown. Prayer is definitely a tool as well. Many blessings for you and your family! May your daughter-in-law find a solution for her ailment.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Marie - I have never heard about Gerson Therapy, but I will mention it to my daughter-in-law. She has done a lot of research on jicing and recently bought a high quality juicer machine. So hopefully she is moving in the right direction. Thank you for your concern. Theresa

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