I was so excited! We were having a family reunion at our home at Christmas time. There were regular phone calls filled with anticipation; what to cook and bake, what we would do, and where we should go. Every phone call brought more joy until the time had finally arrived. Family was arriving from Washington and the sooner the better!
My parents arrived first with my Grandmother, who was now in her 80’s. She moved to Washington to live with family after my Grandfather passed away. I grew up having her in our home or visiting her in México City for the greater part of my youth, so not seeing her on a regular basis was something new. Having her home with me again brought back many wonderful childhood memories.
Since Grandma, or Abuelita, as I called her, arrived early December, we had a whole month to spend together before she went to México to visit with family in January. One night I took her with me and about a dozen friends to the Lamb’s Players Christmas play in Coronado. I did not realize she was no longer able to climb stairs, so the ushers were kind enough to find her a seat up front in the small theater. On another night we went to my daughter’s school concert where she got to see her granddaughter, Marissa, play her cello. Yet another time we went to Garrison Street to see all of the beautiful, wonderful Christmas lights on the block. People come from all around to see this small block of Christmas magic.
It was truly one of the best Christmases I remember. I even made little Christmas boxes and ornaments for Christmas gifts that year. And my brother, who we rarely see because he travels on business a lot, was able to carve time out of his busy schedule to celebrate with the family. On Christmas Eve we all filled the cars and headed to church for the evening service. Later that evening, we brought out extra tables and chairs that made my good sized home look tiny, yet warm and cozy nonetheless.
When the festivities finally came to an end and family returned home, Abuelita left for México. It was only about three days after she had left that we received a phone call from our family in México City. They told us that Abuelita had a heart attack and passed away suddenly. Although it was difficult to take in the unexpected news, I could not help but feel so blessed and grateful for the time the Lord had given us to spend one more Christmas with Abuelita. God had planned it all right, as I had not seen my Abuelita for a while. Even though I did not know this would be the last time I would see Abuelita, I was blessed to have these last memories of her. In my own way, I felt I had an opportunity to say goodbye.
Still, it is difficult to hold the sorrow and joy in our hearts all at the same time. Let us cling to the hope and promise that draws us closer to our loved ones.
For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!