Friday, November 24, 2023

The unofficial start of Christmas


The day after Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the Christmas season in the United States.

Technically, it's not even Advent yet, the season of preparation for Christmas. That doesn't begin until Sunday, December 3 and runs through Sunday, December 24. Christmas is December 24, and the Christmas season runs through January 6 (Epiphany), January 7 (Orthodox Christmas), January 8 (Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, who was baptized by his cousin John at the age of 30), or February 2 (Candlemas/Feast of the Presentation).

My mom's leg broke December 27, 2022, resulting in a series of hospitalizations and sessions of physical rehabilitation. She came home February 3, 2023, but had a fall February 8 and was taken back to the hospital by an unmasked ambulance crew. She tested positive for COVID on February 13. The next morning she had a massive COVID-induced stroke. She went into hospice the evening of February 16 and would die on Friday, February 24.

I had planned to turn all the lights on for her February 8 when I took my lunch break. She had her fall five minutes before that happened.

I never took the tree down. So now I've just plugged it back in.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Keeping the Vigil

I knew we had a vigil light in the garage somewhere. This isn't the one I was looking for. There's an old metal-and-glass version somewhere, I think, that we probably last used twenty or so years ago. This one is all plastic and seems to have never been used. Fortunately, I also found a candle for it, though finding the wick was a bit of a trick - I had to dig down through an inch of wax to locate it. I set the vigil light up shortly before sunset on Sunday afternoon and took this picture. As far as I can tell, this is the only one in the cemetery. When I was a kid, the cemeteries around this time would be flickering with dozens of vigil lights. Times have changed, traditions have been forgotten. Now I just have to locate a source for replacement candles - each one is made to last about a week, and I'd like to keep this going through all of November at least.

(The small handbell on the tombstone was placed by my brother. It is something that he received for participating in the Remembrance Walk sponsored by the Hospice of the Sacred Heart, the hospice where our mom spent her final days.)