wings and things

Last Christmas

on December 22, 2012

Last Christmas, my husband, Anthony, was still living here at home. This year, on Christmas day, he will be visiting for a few hours via a wheelchair taxi and then going back to the nursing lodge. I am having a very hard time accepting the reality of what has transpired over the year – Anthony’s deterioration with Parkinson’s disease, Ming’s spinal surgery, me having to resign from my job as a university lecturer, and a whole lot of other stuff.

Tonight, Ming (nearly 19) saw me struggling with my seemingly endless grief and told me that he was scared – scared that I was totally ‘losing it’. That made me cry even more until he said, “Mum, please just let me in, let me help, we only have each other.” Then he vacuumed the inside veranda, cleaned the microwave and refrigerator, hung out the washing and sang one of the songs he wrote this year – You and me, cup of tea – while he was doing all of this.

I have never understood the term ‘griefstricken’ until now – not just my own, but others’ of course. And now I have the flu and am feeling sorry for myself while parents are grieving beyond any grief imaginable. I can’t say any more about this because I don’t feel I have the right to intrude on the already-trampled privacy of the griefstricken.

This will probably be Anthony’s last Christmas.

107 responses to “Last Christmas

  1. I ache for you, Julie. I wish I had words to make this better. Just know that, across the world, I am listening, and my heart is with you.

  2. Jules, I’m so sorry for your grief. You have every right to it and don’t let yourself feel guilty about it. It is better to let the grief out and course through then to keep it inside and fester. I’m so happy that Ming your son reached out to you, sometimes children, no matter their age, haven’t any idea what to do when their bedrock “loses” it and I’m glad that he is there. Take care of yourself and the flu, a definite contributing factor to your overwhelming feelings. I’m here and so is Gutsy-9

  3. catchatcaren says:

    sending you ((((hugs))))) you have every right to feel bad, that is A LOT to handle. You do have blessings though…your son, Ming……what he said/did is so very special. Sending prayers your way. Hoping you feel better from the flu soon.

  4. Make it one to remember, in a good way. Strong thoughts and flu banishing rays from us.

  5. boomiebol says:

    Sending warm hugs and love.

  6. Judith Post says:

    Holidays make grief worse, and the flu makes everything seem more miserable. But bless your Ming, you have an awesome son! This has been a tough year for you. I hope 2013 is much, much better.

  7. My dearest Julie, there is no correct perscribed time for grieving. You and Ming will figure it out. I love that you have each other. (((hugs)))

  8. shoreacres says:

    Interesting how life works. This Christmas, I’ll be with a friend who’s recovering from a broken leg and broken arm suffered in a fall. Last year, the same friend and I were traveling through Louisiana, on our way to the bonfires along the Mississippi as I coped with my first Christmas without mom. The year before that, the same friend and I were celebrating Christmas with my mother, with no idea that it would be the last.

    The seasons turn, and we turn with them. Enjoy this year, and cherish it – don’t load it down with assumptions that it will be the last. Perhaps it will, but it’s just as likely that it won’t. Live the day.
    And Merry Christmas!

  9. susielindau says:

    I recently read a blog post about the writer’s friend who lost a child, her job and her husband left her all in one year. He wrote about how she should be the light this Christmas for her friends and family. I found the guy through Twitter and wish I had saved the post. It was very inspirational.
    Hang in there girl!

  10. lucewriter says:

    Julie, I’m so sorry for the heartache in your life.

  11. I know I can say nothing to make things better, but your blog family are out here sending love your way! We care and hope you nothing but the best. Sending Blessings!

  12. You have so many feelings inside of you that it’s no wonder you are not able to think clearly. My sister’s husband had Parkinson’s so I know some of what you’ve been dealing with and still face. My heart and thoughts are with you at this time…Diane

  13. I clicked ‘Like’ and then thought that actually that wasn’t really what I meant. I don’t ‘like’ the situation you and your family are in, I just wanted to say that I was thinking of you, and wishing it could all be better.

  14. dcwisdom says:

    Take all this time to love on each other. You won’t regret that – ever. Take it a day at a time, friend. Bless Sweet Ming. Sending you BIG Texas love across the waves and praying for your health and comfort this Christmas. XO

  15. terry1954 says:

    this broke my heart. my wish for you is a Christmas that is unforgettable………… ya my friend. get better soon

  16. Northern Narratives says:

    Sending thoughts and prayers your way. Everyone grieves in their own way. You will survive and thrive.

  17. Robyn Lee says:

    My heart is weeping with you Julie. It’s like an avalanche of emotions and hard to sort through them. Hang on to your boy ~ he wants to be your rock right now and needs you too. Try to just take things minute by minute and not do too much reflecting or projecting right now. Breathe… I wish I could give you a really tight hug … Please take care of the flu — Sending tons of Love ~ you are not alone in this battle — so many here are with you… xxxooo R

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks Robyn – you are so generous. You are right about Ming – I didn’t realize I was shutting him out. I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas. Juliex

  18. Ming has the right idea. It’s great that he sees the importance of sticking together in times of need. Christmas is very sad for so many people. It’s because we’ve made it such a tradition, that it feels worse when there are big changes. Be thankful that you still have Ants and that the two of you have a wonderful son. Be thankful for your mother. Make the best of a bad situation and this happy/sad time will pass. After all, it’s just a day. And you will get over the flu. I know it’s like another kick when you’re already down, but you’re tough. Rally yourself and give your son a hug and tell him you’ll get through it together. You will be okay. It takes time, but you’ll be okay.

  19. notsofancynancy is right–we are all here for you–and you have every right to feel sorry for yourself–what you have been through and survived in the last year is miraculous

  20. mimijk says:

    Julie, would you tell your closest friend, who you loved and adored that s/he had no right to cry and grieve and mourn because others are doing so as well for their own tragic reasons? Would you minimize another’s feelings for one moment? It’s rhetorical dear one. You wouldn’t..What a year it has been, how vulnerable and exposed your heart has been left. Bless Ming for his sensibilities and sensitivities and bless you for the love that defines you both. I hope the flu leaves quickly and that you are visited with the feelings of friendship and support that surround you..

  21. FlaHam says:

    Julie, what a touching post. I won’t attempt to say I understand what you are going thru. I read your posts almost on a daily basis, and I see all the emotions, but none of them overwhelm you. Yes they hurt, yes they make you bow your head in sorrow, but your inter strength lifts you up, not just for yourself but for Ming and Anthony. And then thru it all Ming steps up. Please take care my dear, be safe, find the joys you can. Take care, Bill

  22. Hugs, Julie. Words seem empty in the face of what you have to manage. When an extraordinary son you have.

  23. Sorry – What an extraordinary son….

  24. It has been a long hard yeah for you, with so many sad moments and heartbreaking times with Anthony when you say this may be his last Christmas do you mean his last Christmas with you at home or his last Christmas…………..I hope you don’t mean the latter………….Ming can be such a comfort at times when you and him are not fighting………….

    • jmgoyder says:

      Thanks Joanna and you are right about Ming! Re Christmas and Ants – he has advanced prostate cancer and has already outlived that prognosis by a couple of years at least so yeah I meant it literally.

  25. Lynda says:

    Julie, Ming is healed, Anthony is in a safe place with his needs being taken care of, and you will survive the flu. It is hard to live with all of these trials, I’m certain, but as someone above said, you have so many of us who are thinking of you and sending you love and blessings daily.

    That said, your best and most wonderful blessing right now is Ming. He loves you so much and is a testament to your and Anthony’s parenting skills. Do you realize what a great job you guys did? 🙂

  26. I’m sorry too, for the burden that you carry right now. I hope your coming holiday visit goes well. Ming seems to be supportive. He sounds like a wonderful young man.

  27. victoriaaphotography says:

    Gosh what a rotten time of year to get the flu, Julie. Sending lots of healing thoughts your way and hope you’ll feel better by Christmas Day.

    ‘Griefstricken’ is a ghastly place to be and while there will be many more days of it to come, know that there are many many friends across the world who join with your family and close friends in WA, to stand by you and support you & Ming at this difficult time.

    I hope that Christmas Day 2012 is filled with love, laughter and joy, so that you’ll be able to look back on it as one of the very best memories of all time. Memories never die, they only get more precious as each year goes by. Savour them and greet them with open arms.


  28. Julie, I don’t know you, but feel like I’ve gotten to know you a bit from seeing your comments on Mimi and Rhonda’s blog. I just wanted to tell you that I, like so many others, ache with you at this tough, tough time. I, too, hesitated to hit the ‘like’ button — wished it read ‘support.’. Know that many are holding you and your family close to their hearts….

  29. mrs fringe says:

    ((((((((Julie))))))) The grief of others doesn’t negate your own. So glad to see that in the midst of it, you were able to have this important, beautiful moment with Ming. I have no useful words hear, but I’m offering a cyberhand, sending peace. ❤

  30. Susan says:

    No useful words, just sending lots of love and positive thoughts that you, Anthony and Ming (and Gutsy9, of course!) have a happy and peaceful Christmas together x

  31. oldsunbird says:

    Oh dear Julie, you have a lot on your plate; let yourself grieve, you have as much right to your grief as anyone else has. I hope the flu is better. I carry you in my heart, and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Love & hugs, Mary

  32. I’m sorry. This is hard. I pray you will have some special moments to cherish in spite of all this pain. Bless you.

  33. You do have so much going on, it’s no wonder you’re near the breaking point. Thank goodness you have Ming to help you as much as he can. If I could I would come over for a cup of tea or a glass of beer and a smile.

    This will be a hard Christmas for a lot of people, but I guess it always is someone’s last Christmas, but the rest of the world moves on, leaving you with memories. I hope all your memories are good ones.

    I may not be on here much over the next few days, have a fabulous holiday and try to enjoy it!

  34. alina downunder says:

    I am so sorry for all your sorrow, but look at the bright side – the hurt gets either the worst or the best (Ming’s case) out of people. Such is life and so we grow. Stronger, wiser and … scarred.
    Hugs and warm thoughts from us, too, Julie, hang in there!

  35. Ms. Boice says:

    I don’t have any words that will make things better. I can’t take away the pain, I can’t take away the grief. But I can read your words and send prayers up to heven and tender thoughts your way. I hope you feel them.

  36. Julie
    First. I am sending you huge virtual hugs. From the comments I have read, you should be feeling the warmth and support of a whole community. There are no rules for grieving my friend. Grief requires no apologies and no embarrassment. You are weakened and more vulnerable due to the flu. Climb into bed, sip some hot toddy, and allow yourself to feel whatever emotion comes over you. Know that when you wake, you will be one day closer to feeling better. My prayers are with you.

  37. I am so sad for you all. You all continue to be in my prayers.

  38. It’s a tough time of year and you’ve been through a lot this year Jules. Several of the major stressors ‘they’ list…and you’ve hung in. You’re allowed to cry. I also hope you have a happy day on Tuesday..make some more nice memories for you and Ming to look back on xx

  39. janeslog says:

    We all suffer from grief at times in our life. But ask yourself this – would the people you grieve for want you to be miserable? I doubt it. Instead they would want you to be happy.

    Of course you never forget those who are suffering or have already passed but you also need to get on with your own life as well. You don’t want to make yourself ill.

  40. viveka says:

    It is very difficult to express in words how I feel when I read this post.
    With Ming saying … let me in on this. He go through it too and he needs you too … he need you to be there for him too … that’s why he want to be let in with you in all this.
    You are living with the beliefs that this will be Ant’s last Christmas and you’re struggling with that big time.
    Julia, I can’t image how difficult that will be – during my cancer treatments I meet a fantastic Polish woman that didn’t response on her treatments and the doctor had given her 8-12 months to live and she was so calm and collected about it. I often think about her and that she had come to peace with her destiny. I would panic and be totally stressed out about the whole thing and I would be the same if I was in your shoes now – knowing maybe it will be Ant’s last Christmas.
    We can only take on day at the time …

  41. fgassette says:

    I feel sad for the grief that has entered into your life. Often our children can be our best teacher. Listen to the wisdom of your son. Their is hope in tomorrow, believe it and embrace it. Your strength will give strength to those around you, even if it’s only briefly. Praying for your family.


  42. Dear Jules, your Ming; he is not only brilliant he is one of the most kind and loving your men I know about.
    It is not n easy thing letting our children see the vulnerable side so we tend to think by now allowing them in we are protecting the, I have found this is not the case. I realize by trying to do it all, keep that stiff upper lip, and not share my feelings an be the detriment to the love we share.
    It is hard to let those babies of ours in, but we would do well to remember we raised loving adults.

    My heart aches for you my dear Jules. sending you my gentlest hugs ~

  43. eof737 says:

    {{{HUGS}}} {{{HUGS}}} {{{HUGS}}} Words are never enough… I’m praying for you and the family.

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