Christmas Every Day

By Penelope Foran

Christmas Every Day

Christmas: A time to gaze out the window to watch a gently falling snow in the light of a street lamp. A time of amazement and wonder, a season of miracles.

Christmas 2009: My husband Vic and I had just received our Christmas miracle. Vic had been accepted into a clinical trial for a new drug to fight metastatic prostate cancer. We had no illusions for a cure, but believed that it was entirely reasonable to expect an extra year or two. What a gift we had received.

For a few short weeks after the trial began, we were positive that Vic had not received the placebo, but the real thing, the miracle drug. Vic’s PSA dropped dramatically. All of his issues with ambulation, dragging feet and poor balance, improved. He summarily ditched his walker. Best of all, the unrelenting pain of bone mets disappeared. It was a miracle!

Unfortunately, Vic’s condition suddenly deteriorated, seemingly overnight. By mid-February, my dear husband was paralyzed from the mid-chest down. One of his spinal tumors had compressed his spinal cord, causing immediate and irreversible paralysis. The only upside was that he never experienced pain again, as he had no sensation.

We had decided early on that, if at all possible, we would keep him here at home until the end. Although his paralysis and 6’4” inch frame made it quite a challenge, somehow we managed. My dear friend Timi flew down from Pennsylvania, unbidden, and spent a week doing everything and anything we needed.

Too full of self-pity and sadness, I never recognized the miracles right in front of me, Vic’s release from all pain, and the gift of a friend who would drop everything to head to South Carolina for anything but a vacation.

By mid-April, the cancer had sneaked its way into Vic’s brain stem. He was still breathing, heart beating, but he seemed unable to communicate in any meaningful way. I tramped around the house, often ranting and raging at God. If You can’t allow Vic to be Vic, then why not take him home, and right now?! What’s your point, God? I assume You have one, right?

After two days, Vic remained totally unresponsive. Suddenly, unbelievably, I saw him crook his finger almost imperceptibly. I rushed over; sure it had been my imagination. But it hadn’t. Vic motioned for me to put my ear to his mouth. “I’m going to have a really great day today,” he whispered, almost inaudibly.

Suddenly, it all came clear. This was my miracle. God had had a plan all along. God had made a way for me to experience the exact moment my husband’s soul departed for Heaven. There was no doubt in my mind. I was bathed in peace and comfort.

In the months that followed, I began to look at life in a whole new way. At first, it felt awkward and a wee bit like Pollyanna, but, eventually I embraced my new outlook with enthusiasm and wonder. I discovered that my life is a season of miracles. There is always another one right around the corner.

Sometimes, they are small, simple. Like the evening I listened to a little voice telling me to drop over to see my granddaughters, after a stressful day. As I brushed their thick, glossy hair, inhaling the scent of their shampoo, all my troubles seemed to disappear.

Sometimes they are huge. Like finding my new husband steps away from where we had sprinkled Vic’s ashes. And, believe me; it takes a miracle to find a man brave enough to marry a widow. It takes the patience of a saint and the strength of Samson to help with all the baggage of a fifty-something life.

No falling snow in the street lamps of Pawleys, but a season of miracles. Indeed. I just can’t wait to see what’s next.

About this writer

  • Penelope ForanPenelope Foran resides in Pawleys Island with her soul mate Gene and their four cats. She ticky-tacs away at the computer daily and is currently pursuing several writing projects.

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5 Responses to “Christmas Every Day”

  1. Penelope,
    Your story is so moving, and proof that miracles do occur. So happy your found happiness again.

    • Penelope Foran says:

      Thank you so very much, Linda. It seems we can never fully savor the sweet w/o some bitter too. Guess that’s why they make a bitter-sweet chocolate! I sincerely appreciate you reading.

  2. Penelope Foran says:

    Dear Sue,
    Your essay was an inspiration. Merry, merry Christmas to a lady w/ a lot of grace.

  3. Penelope Foran says:

    So sorry! My post was meant for Donna.

  4. Penelope Foran says:

    Wishing all Sasee readers the blessings of this season. Keep an eye out for those miracles!

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