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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mistletoe

The other day I was poking my head into the storage room that used to be my bedroom. I was trying to see if I could find any of the Christmas ornaments I painted three years ago so I could take them over to my house. Suddenly a bag containing a plastic ball of Mistletoe sort of fell out at me. I had no idea it was in that room, on those shelves. But I remember very well where it was from.

The Mistletoe was an ornament I had bought in 1998 for my grandmother. She had been in a series of nursing homes since early 1996 and was about to see her third Christmas from inside of one. Each year I had decorated her room for the holidays, making it as festive as I could manage with window clings and garland and cardboard cut-outs taped to the walls.

Some time earlier, in late 1996 or early 1997, she had suffered an additional mini-stroke that had robbed her of the ability to swallow, which meant she could no longer take food by mouth. She had a PEG tube installed which allowed liquid nutrition to be pumped directly into her stomach through a hole in her side. The bottle of nutrient was held on a pole mounted to the back of her wheelchair. At times the pole almost resembled a bicycle flag. In 1998 I resolved that I would give my grandmother one additional bit of Christmas decoration: I would hang a ball of Mistletoe from her nutrient-hanging pole. This would add a whimsical touch to her wheelchair - my grandmother was a very whimsical person - but would also give a message: "Kiss me, I'm under the Mistletoe!"

My grandmother died December 13, 1998. I never got a chance to give her her Mistletoe ball.

So now it hangs in her house. My house.

If you come over, ladies, and I invite you into the kitchen, you may want to look up when I pause in the doorway. You'll be standing under the Mistletoe.

1 comment:

rimalicious said...

Sweet story. Thanks for sharing.