Missing Mom’s Smile

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 13 Comments

“Christmas is far and away my favorite holiday. I love everything about it, from the event that inspired it, hoping for a white one, to wrapping presents. But mostly I love having family and friends gathered, and sharing traditions.” ~Ellen Hopkins

I hope you all had a merry and joyous Christmas with your families and friends. And if you couldn’t be with your families, I hope you were able to enjoy the peace and joy of Christmas as you considered the birth of Jesus and the angels delivering the news to shepherds in the fields and then singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” At least I imagine them singing, but when I checked the Scripture just now, the New King James says the multitude of the heavenly host were praising God and saying. But you can say things while you’re singing. And it’s easy to think about the angels singing.

Even as we celebrate with our families and our churches, we do also miss those who are no longer with us to be part of our Christmas gatherings. When I was a kid, my family circle was nearly complete. My maternal grandfather had passed away, but I was so young when he died, that I didn’t remember him. So I didn’t feel the loss the way my mother probably did at Christmas. But now many in my family and in my husband’s family have moved on up to heaven. Our grandparents, our parents, all our aunts and uncles and even some of our younger family members, my husband’s brother, a sister-in-law and several nieces and nephews. Many sweet church members who helped me grow spiritually have gone on ahead to perhaps once more show the way when my own time to go comes.

This year, even though it was my third Christmas without Mom, I seem to be missing her more. Perhaps the sorrow of her dementia that took her from us even before she stopped breathing has faded and I am remembering better times with her. Mothers are so much a part of Christmas. Usually mothers are the ones making the special meals and stirring up the candy treats or baking the favorite cookies. At least that’s how it was in my family. My dad was just along for the ride. Mom made Christmas happen with the gifts, decorations, and more.

And so, I’m missing Mom’s smile this year and remembering. She loved the family reunions we had where family gathered and shared old stories in the summer time. She loved hugs from the grandkids and great grandkids. She cried once at my house after the dementia was beginning to take hold because she realized that she couldn’t really be part of a family gathering the way she wanted to be with her fading memory. But most of the time she still had smiles for the grandkids.

One of the good memories after her dementia worsened and then she broke her hip and had to go to a nursing home for a few weeks, is her laughter and smiles with the therapists there. They had her sitting on one of those exercise balls to try to improve her balance. My irrepressible Mom started bouncing up and down like a kid and had us all laughing. She was often unhappy too with the dementia stealing her mental balance, but now it seems easier to remember the smiles and laughter than the tears and anger. That’s as it should be. The good memories are what light up our hearts when we think about those we’re missing at Christmas and all through the year.

And so this year at Christmas, I’m remembering Mom’s smiles and missing them. She was the best mom ever. For me. I hope you had the best mom ever too. For you.

Wishing you abundant blessings in the coming year and thanking you so much for reading my journal posts here and my books too. You can’t imagine how much I appreciate you and each and every comment.

Comments 13

  1. Paula

    Karen, the title is: Child of Two Countries: My China Legacy, by Mary Beck Ecker and Sarah Marquis. Available on Amazon.
    Thanks so much for the interest!

  2. AndiW

    Wow. Your post really got to me, Ann. 🙂 My mama passed last May and this was my stepDad’s and my first Christmas without her. She suffered so with near-blindness from macular degeneration and intense rheumatoid pain. She also experienced some memory loss, but not dementia. How thankful I am for her to not have experienced that, but I may actually be more thankful that she remembered me to the end. God blessed me.

    Christmas was a quiet affair this year with my husband and his family, and with my stepDad. God provided 2 new things to help me get through the season: a Beth Moore Bible study and a microscopic part in an original Christmas play that re-told the well-known news from a fresh perspective! I praise Him for these things that not only nourished my spirit, but brought many laughs and occupied my free time.

    I’m VERY glad to have made your discovery through the Hidden Springs Mysteries (we messaged on Facebook) and look forward to reading your other works. Thank you for this heart-felt post about your Christmases. <3

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks so much for stopping by here and reading my blog post about Mom. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. It’s difficult to give up our loved ones, but it’s a blessing to think of them happy in heaven without the pain and the other difficulties they may have suffered here. That first Christmas can be a hard one. So glad you found good ways to keep busy with new interests that immersed you in the Christmas spirit. Maybe that small part in the play will lead to more fun parts in the future.

      I do hope you will enjoy some of my other books. And that ball bouncing physical therapy session with my mother was a hoot. I did do a video, but I didn’t start soon enough and missed the biggest giggles. She did enjoy some of her therapy sessions, but nothing else about her nursing home stay after she broke her hip.

  3. Paula

    I still have my mother. In 8 days she will be 100 years old! I live pretty far away but did get to see her last March. My sister will be with her this year and probably by brother and other sister. She is in a nursing home. She still is pretty sharp. She and my sister published a book last year of her memories. She is still able to read large print books despite having macular degeneration.
    Cherish those memories, Ann. Blessings, Paula

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      That’s wonderful, Paula. Mom always said she wanted to live to be 100, but I don’t think she wanted to live longer once she lost her ability to think clearly. It is a blessing to be able to retain your mental abilities as you age. And you’re still gathering memories to cherish. Did you see Karen’s question about the title of the book your mother and sister published? Is it on Amazon? Or just for family?

  4. Melanie Backus

    Ann, I Love the post you shared with us about your mother and wonderful memories. As you recall, my mother is suffering from dementia and is now in a memory care nursing facility. We are very blessed that she knows all of the family and many visitors that come to see her. We brought her to her granddaughter’s house to enjoy Christmas since that was the last place she visited and it was a good few hours. But to our surprise, two days later she was herself. This is the fourth time this has happened and we are absolutely thrilled when it does. It is like the fog has lifted and we have her back. We, again brought her to my daughter’s and we had the best day ever. We talked and laughed,we all ate lunch together. It was very warm so we sat outside the biggest past of the afternoon watching her great grands play, which she always loved to do. We all had dinner together and we took her back to her room just in time to get ready for bed. We cherish the precious moments and are so thankful.

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      That was a special blessing, Melanie. Makes one wonder if her dementia is caused by something other than Alzheimer’s since it can lift and give you these good days together. It’s also good you were there to enjoy this gift of having your mother back the way she would always want to be. May she continue to recognize her loved ones and friends and enjoy many more special days with you and the rest of her family.

  5. Melissa

    I miss my Mama and my Daddy. Christmas was always such a wonderful time while they were living. Every year, for my whole life, Daddy would always say, “This is the best Christmas ever.” and he meant it. 🙂 I am thankful for precious memories of my parents.

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      What a wonderful memory to have of your father, Melissa! To know he thought each Christmas was the best ever and I’m sure your mother was one of the reasons he felt that way. It’s such a blessing to have loving parents.

  6. Karen Jones

    God bless and give you peace and all those who were unable to celebrate Christmas with their Moms and Dads. I was only 38 when my Mom went to her heavenly home, my Dad followed her 22 years later and my older sister a year before him. My Mom and sister were much too young. Our Dad lived to be 90! They will always be missed, as much now as they were when they left. We just, somehow, have to learn to live with their absence. I, also, have said goodbye to all Aunts and Uncles and too many of my cousins and two of their children. Knowing where they are helps to bring peace and comfort. Love reading your emails as much as I enjoy reading your books.
    Happy New Year,

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      That was very young to lose your mother, Karen. We like to think of everybody living to a good old age like your dad or my mother who was 94. But of course, that’s not the way it is. All sorts of accidents and diseases take our loved ones at different ages, some very young. But life does continue on as it is meant to do. We carry our memories with us and somehow those loved ones keep living in our hearts. Thank you so much for reading my posts here. I enjoy hearing from you too.

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