Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Day

I can't believe I neglected to mention in the previous post that, as we were leaving our Christmas Eve dinner, and precisely as my grandparents' pastor walked up the sidewalk at the restaurant (complete coincidence), we got word that Grandpa seemed to be responding to the medication and was waking up a bit. That they would be bringing in a respiratory therapist on Christmas Day and trying to remove his breathing tube.
Finally - some hope. Not much, mind you, as he was still unable to follow the "squeeze my hand" command, but some hope that he might pull through.

Christmas Eve blurred into Christmas Day since I didn't actually go to bed. I quickly wrapped my unfinished gifts and stuck them under the tree before Chris got out of bed, swearing a little along the way. I swear a lot more when I'm tired.
Family started arriving, bringing in gifts to be arranged under the tree, all clad in their Christmas pajamas. That's part of the fun. We all are wearing our Christmas jammies, except for a few of us who are too manly to do that. We started brewing the coffee (Barnie's Santa's White Christmas, of course) and put the cinnamon rolls in the oven. We woke up the kids, who walked out (as they do every year) to a room full of loved ones, presents, Christmas music and candles - white candles.
Andrew untied the bow around the scroll I'd made and read from it the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2. Then the joy began in earnest.
Presents and laughter, good food and coffee, love and even a little magic. Bolstering news about Grandpa, too. All of that added up to one of the nicest Christmas mornings I can remember, since the year my parents got us all sleds for Christmas (we lived up north when I was a kid - sleds don't do much here in Florida).
I was so tired and so busy keeping track of what gifts came from which people that I couldn't be bothered to mess with apertures and shutter speeds and white balance to take good photos. In fact, I hardly took any photos at all. But here's one:

Blurry and yellow though it may be, you can still see the kids' surprised faces as they opened a new Wii. That was definitely an exciting moment!

Once everyone made their way back to their own houses, I crashed. I napped the whole afternoon away. We had our traditional Mexican food feast for supper at my mom's house (I know that seems weird, but it sure tastes great after eating coffee cake and cinnamon rolls all day) and came home overly-full and happy. And sleepy.

We are spending these weekend days decadently - in our pajamas, eating Christmas cookies and drinking coffee all day long. The kids are playing more video games than they are likely to be allowed ever again and we may even get to see Grandpa today or tomorrow. He is awake, is in lots of pain, and is trying to communicate a bit. This is nothing short of miraculous! He recognized Grandma yesterday. My mom asked him, if he recognized her, to squeeze her hand. And he did! He squeezed her hand to request a blanket pulled up over his shoulders and to request a little TV. The fear over the last couple of days had shifted from whether or not he'd live to what state he would exist in. He was not comatose, did not have sign of stroke, but was not really responsive either. Vegetative is nearly the right word to describe it. And honestly, that would have been almost as awful as losing him.
As of yesterday, for the first time in a week, there is reason to hope he will be with us again. Maybe not fully as he was, but with us and part of the goings-on, just as he loves to be.
As my brother Jon loves to say, in his funny way, "It's a Christmas Miracle!"

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