It is Christmas Eve.
The snow is falling. He is sitting in his favourite chair, with his legs up, reading and watching TV. He periodically peers out the big bay window for a glimpse – wondering perhaps who is driving by and where they might be going.
He is not alone, but he is alone with his thoughts. ‘How bad is it?’ ‘Will the results confirm there is a cure for the cancer growing inside my chest?’ ‘Will I be able to fight it?’ ‘Am I going to be ok?’ ‘Why is this happening?’ ‘What if…?’ These are only a few of the thoughts racing through his mind, and what he is asking himself over and over again. He is thinking about his life, going over everything. Remembering. Hoping.
He is scared.
He looks over at his wife. He feels comfort, relief that she is here, and is thankful that this Christmas Eve she is beside him. She is the love of his life. As he watches her, his thoughts are of his Christmas wish, the one he has had to wish for all too often on Christmas Eve – a wish for her – that the cancer in her bones remains lazy, that it keeps taking it’s time, in turn, giving her more. Tonight, he once again wishes, for her, only much harder than ever before. Her cancer has changed course and found a warm place to nestle in her lungs – but, again, it is resting. ‘Keep resting’ he wishes. ‘Please. She is the love of my life.’
This is not how it is supposed to be. She needs him. Her cancer, for the moment, is sleepy, but, he knows it will eventually awaken, seeking refuge elsewhere. He needs to be here. So, he sits, gazing at his beautiful wife and continues wishing, with all his might, for himself, and for her. ‘Please. Let me win this fight. Let me stay. Please, give her more time.’
It is Christmas Eve.
There is no snow falling and, I am not alone. At my side is family and best friends. The bustle of music and joyful celebration fills my ears, but, I am alone in my thoughts. ‘Is he going to be ok?’ ‘How long before her cancer spreads even more?’ ‘When will we know his results?’ ‘How can this be happening?’ ‘Why them…again?’ ‘What if…?’ I am thinking about my life, going over everything. Remembering. Hoping.
I am scared.
The people with whom I share this night are all around me. I watch smiles grow on their faces as they talk and laugh with one another, and I too, smile because I can see them, hear them, touch them. I look at these faces, these people and I am overwhelmed at the sight of them. Thankful that for now, they are safe – Time has not put them on notice, not yet. My heart pounds and aches as I watch them. I catch my breath. They are here. I too am here.
The Christmas tree is in my view, and the twinkle of the lights ignites the colours draped all around. It is beautiful. Presents carefully wrapped with love and generosity are tucked underneath, waiting to reveal themselves, and to bring joy Christmas morning. I think of the many people who tonight are alone in their thoughts, wishing for the gift of just one more day, or many days. A gift they won’t find under the tree, but in the eyes of the one who still stands or sits beside them. I wish them many days.
And I think of the ones, who are looking around the room tonight and see only space where someone once was. I wish them a distant relationship with regret and abundant peace in their hearts – that a memory or a story provides them the strength to smile, to remember and to hold on. I wish them courage.
I think of all my family and friends, who tomorrow will gather around a tree, open gifts and watch joyfully as their children experience the magic of Christmas. I hope they put down their phones, that they are present, and store each moment deep in their minds – so that if one day, memories are all they have, vivid recollections will flood in. I wish them all joy, laughter, health, happiness, and infinite love. I wish them this Christmas and many, many more.
I walk to the window, and I look outside. I close my eyes and think of him sitting in his chair, and her at his side.
My wish this night is always for her, but tonight it is also for him.
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish, I wish tonight.
It is Christmas Eve.
The snow is falling. He looks over at his wife. He feels comfort, relief that she is here, and is thankful that this Christmas Eve, once again, she is beside him.
For you, both.
I love you.