my father was into his third year after a diagnosis with Alzheimer's and we were still caring for him at home; my divorce was not yet final but I had hired a lawyer;
and my nephew, the long-awaited and much-anticipated first grandchild born in September, was having open-heart surgery on December 21 to try and repair the arteries going in and out of his heart.
When I submitted an essay about those days around Christmas 2004 to the Globe and Mail's "Facts & Arguments" section, the editor emailed me back within an hour.
"I want to publish this," she wrote. "I am crying as I type this!"
Ten years ago
seems so long ago.
So much has happened:
ny nephew is ten now and he has five siblings;
my father is dead and we don't live in Cobourg, ON, any longer.
At the time, Christmas seemed so fraught; first, George's surgery -- he was only three months old -- and then the following year, Dad was in a nursing home, Mum was in Atlanta with her grandchildren and I was home alone.
And yet I look back at those anxious, sad, heartbreaking times and think,
"They were the best Christmases ever."
They taught me more about living and living and letting go than anything else could ever.
Here's the column from December 21, 2007, as it appeared in the Globe and Mail newspaper: