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The First Holiday Season After Losing My Mother

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The holidays coming up will be the last of firsts after losing my mother to malignant mixed Mullerian tumor (MMMT), or carsinosarcoma. I dread it already. Thanksgiving and Christmas were her favorites. She was an exceptional cook.

I managed to duck out of the Thanksgiving get together this year. I know I will be crying the ugly cry all day, and I don’t want to ruin it. I will be happy to stay home and lay in bed all day and cry.

She always went over the top for Christmas. I learned as an adult that she often took out a loan or pawned something so we kids could have a big Christmas. There weren’t a ton of expensive gifts, just a lot of little things. Things she chose with love.

When she died, I had to have every single thing she had for Christmas. I took it all out today. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I need to feel closer to her, to cry, or knowing I will unwrap each treasure she had packed away and remember.

She kept everything. Starting from my baby mobile, she lovingly took it apart and made ornaments out of the little wooden pieces. She had every school project from all of the kids and grandkids spanning the years. She kept them, even the ugly ones. She may have hung them in the back, but we knew she always had them on the tree, and we would all laugh. In a way her Christmas tree was the story of our family.

Now they are mine. The baton has been passed. I am now the mom who will treasure every single thing my kids bring home. I am the oldest. I will keep all the family traditions. I’m not ready. I wish I could cancel the day, but I have a child who believes in Santa. So, while I may cry many times through this holiday season, I have to somehow make it through.

If you know someone who has lost someone close this year, please be kind to them. They may say they are fine and have that plastic smile plastered on their face, but you never know… they may be holding themselves together as best they can. We can shatter in the blink of an eye.

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Stock photo by finwal

Originally published: November 13, 2016
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