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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Location: United States

Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Getting That Christmas Spirit

I’m trying to get into the Christmas Spirit. I even put up Christmas lights in the windows in my rooms upstairs to brighten my spirit. I have nearly all my Christmas shopping finished. That’s not saying much since everyone who knows me knows that I normally have my shopping done by August. At least, I used to.

I have everything wrapped and boxed and ready to send to Stacey and her family in Alabama. Hoping to get that in the mail tomorrow after Two and I deliver the live tree to the day care.

Today was Two’s and my 6th Anniversary. He came down and had coffee with me this morning and after Mom was up and about he brought the Christmas tree upstairs from the basement and went home.

I spent most of the morning sorting through lights and chuckling because I was going through the same aggravation that Angel and Tim went through with their lights yesterday. Only mine was worse. I had all my lights working and had them on the tree, then, one minute the lights were lit and half the string was blinking and the next minute they lost their glow. I ended up taking all of them off and sitting for another hour fixing strings of lights. I finally got them working again and put them back on the tree just before dinner was ready.

I made a roast for an early 2:00 dinner and Two came back down to Mom’s and ate dinner with us. After dinner I had planned for Mom and I to decorate the tree. She had no interest in helping decorate; she just wanted to sit and watch. I think she enjoyed me struggling with the lights. She laughed a few times.

Never before has it ever taken me so long to put up a Christmas tree. After it was finished, Mom and I had a light snack. She couldn’t wait to go to bed and I couldn’t wait to come upstairs to let loose the tears that I’d been holding in all day.

It felt so odd decorating the tree by myself. It was always a family project and there was always a lot of talking and singing and laughing. The only person there to share it with was Mom, who had no interest in what was going on. She didn’t comprehend that Christmas was near, what the tree was for, and for that matter, I’m not sure she even knows what Christmas means anymore.

After a long hard cry, I sat on the bed and looked at the Christmas lights in my window. I’m not sure what this holiday season or the winter may bring, but the lights in the window helped brighten my spirit. I know that, if even for a moment, Mom enjoyed watching me decorate the tree, the time it took was worth it. When it was finished, she said it was the prettiest tree she’s ever seen. For now, I’ll take all those moments I can get.

Happy Anniversary Two! Happy Holidays to everyone. I'll try to post more frequently.

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Blogger ¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

Hi Joanne, I don't know why I haven't received updates to your bog but I haven't and I apologize. Things have really been crazy for you and I can certainly see why it is hard for you to post at times. I don't know how you manage to do what you do.

It's so hard to get into a holiday mood and think back to when times were better and people weren't sick. We long for those times and grieve knowing they will never return again. I can't help but think that even in a corner of your mom's mind, she remembers something about Christmas, if only to just know that what she is seeing is truly beautiful to her. AD takes so much away, we just grasp what we can and make the most of every moment. And that is exactly what you are doing.

Happy Anniversary wishes to you and Two!

Aren't those lights a dickens? I think I liked the old time ones with the big bulbs the best. Not so much guesswork with those.

It's great seeing you post again. I love reading your blog and look forward to each entry. Please take care of yourself and I am thinking of you:)

12/08/2008 1:52 AM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

Sometimes a long cry is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Stay strong.

12/08/2008 10:19 AM  
Blogger Lori1955 said...

Oh sweetie, we all understand your needing to cry. Each day brings it's own challenges but somehow the memories and knowledge of what is lost seems more intense during the holidays.

I'm glad you got it done though and were able to bring a smile to your moms face. Helen used to love the decorations and the more the better. We used to really go all out. Now that it's just me, I don't bother with any.

Happy anniversary to the both of you. I'm glad to see you posting.

12/08/2008 7:43 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Glad to see you posting again!

12/09/2008 9:23 PM  
Blogger rilera said...

I hate this disease and the things it robs from us and our loved ones. Hugs Joanne.

12/10/2008 10:15 PM  
Blogger Ray Wong said...

I'm glad to see you posting your updates and trying to find some normalcy in life outside of taking care of mom. Take care. Thinking of you. And Merry Christmas.

12/10/2008 11:14 PM  
Blogger Bhaswati said...

Happy (belated) Anniversary to you and Two, Joanne. Here's to many, many more.

Hard as it is for you, all joy is truly in this moment, no other. See, you did find some joy in seeing your mother decorate, even if it was only a little. And her compliment to you? That's even more precious.

A HUGE hug to you for everything you cope with every day. :)

12/18/2008 2:36 AM  
Blogger rainbowheart said...

My heart breaks as I read your blog. It is so sad to hear that your Mom is not doing well at all.
Happy belated Anniversary to you and Two.
I too had problems with lights this year and all of them are new. I am not fighting with Christmas lights. I will take them down and hang new ones. We have a 8 1/2 ft. Blue Spruch up this year and it took me and David about 6 hours to get just the lights on. Me and Haley finished it the following night. Noah, Haley and Bethany put their oraments on the tree and then Haley put Skylar's on the tree.
We were at my parents for lunch and then me and Haley come home for a much needed nap, in which I didn't get a nap but Haley got one.
Mom is not doing well. Daddy said today that every day she seems to be getting worse. But I am so thankful that she is still at home. We have someone that is really good with her and that takes really good care of her when she at the house with Mama.
I hope that you and Two and your family has a wonderful Christmas. Take care and hope to hear from you soon....

12/25/2008 6:18 PM  
Blogger Frank Baron said...

Jo, I hope Christmas helped lift your spirits. Don't neglect the duty you owe yourself, as you care for those around you.

Congratulations to you and Two. You'll be in my thoughts. :)

12/26/2008 11:09 AM  
Blogger rilera said...

Happy Holidays Joanne!

12/28/2008 7:25 PM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

Hi Joanne - Just checking in to see how you're managing the snow and cold. I hope all is well! Take care.

1/11/2009 2:21 PM  
Blogger rilera said...

Hi Joanne, just checking in. Haven't heard from you in a while. Hope things are OK.

2/07/2009 7:31 PM