Christmas with Mom

The following is my entry for the 100 word contest “Christmas with Mom” – share a Christmas memory.

It’s that smell that brings it all back. Some heady combination of pine tree, cinnamon candles and cookies. The feeling in my stomach of anticipation so strong that I can’t sleep. I sneak from my bed and watch her sitting by the Christmas tree – its multi-colored lights, and the crackling fire are the only lights in the room. She hums a carol softly to herself and I feel warm and safe as I tiptoe back to my bed.
This Christmas, she’s in a locked ward and her memories are lost. Sometimes she doesn’t know me – but I remember.


21 thoughts on “Christmas with Mom

  1. Oh, it was going along so lovely and then your last two sentences took my breath away. My dad has Alzeheimers. It has progressed a lot this year and is almost too much to stand.
    I don’t know about the 100 word contest, but your post is amazing.

  2. You and I are both the “keepers of the memories” for our mothers, Leslie. I also keep them for my dad, who died of Alzheimer’s 3 years ago. Your details of the scents flooded me with memories of his struggles to connect, to somehow touch the world he lost. Thank you.

    Your story has been entered in the “Christmas Memory With Mom” contest.

  3. I’m sitting here almost about to cry. My mom died from Alzheimer’s (actually not ‘from’, but ‘brought on by’ or ‘complications of’. We’re still not sure.) 10 years ago December 11. I hadn’t thought about that till now. This was a beautiful tribute. Thank you for writing it.

  4. Although my mom died almost 20 years ago, I still remember Christmas time as if I was still 9 or 10 ~ days of decorating, days of cooking cookies and candies, getting the Christmas outfits ready for church (hand sewn for all four of us girls), wrapping of all the gifts and much more – such wonderful times, such empty times now as I am the Mom, and I try to share those memories to my own family so that they will have some of the memories I had with my Mom.

    Definitely brings back memories,

  5. Beautiful Leslie. My own mother died when I was six but when I married Thom his mum opened her arms to me as if I was her own. She is now in a locked facility because of Alzheimer’s and has only glimpses of what was! Your story brought back memories of baking mincetarts, tortiere and Christmas cake with her, memories I will cherish forever!

  6. Thank you Leslie for bringing up this topic – look what your 100 words have done. Speaking of Alzheimer’s disease and in general dementia reminded me of how my mom was hurt and upset for my grandmother (she died this summer) who was throwing everything out, not remembering what they were, and gradually not remembering people. My mom was saying it must be terrible for her. I replied I think it is terrible for us who see how Omi is becoming a stranger to us – she is no longer who we knew, but consider……. I was going to write all what I said to her, but then I opted to write a poem which I like to share. It summarizes it:


    You cried, you were hurt and said:
    She has thrown all the pictures out
    She doesn’t remember her beautiful past
    Only snip snaps of her childhood
    it’s all what is there
    this is so unfair, so unfair….

    She lived and enjoyed
    Whatever she lived
    That moment did the trick
    Today she is getting ready for a new journey
    To make the good-bye easy
    one by one what was memory
    is being switched off
    An unwritten history is still history
    It is her journey
    She travels light

    She might not remember you and me
    but a smile, a gentle holding hand
    a soft comforting voice, a song of life
    what gave us security and love
    at birth welcoming us to this journey
    will never be forgotten
    She is easing her good-bye pain
    It is her journey
    She travels light
    All she needs is love, a smile…

    01 Dec 2011

  7. Memories, they are the real wealth of our lives. Neither of my parents left before their minds, but even so , the oddest thing will bring them back up into my consciousness as though they can still nudge me with their gnarled ancient fingers from where ever that is they have gone. There is so much I didn’t get around to asking them, I regret that.
    Your memory of your Mum is brilliant.

  8. Hi, again, Leslie.
    Other than your blog, I have no way of contacting you. Please go to my blog site, click on the very first posting about the contest. In the comment space below that posting, please put in your email address without your name. I’ll email you tonight and find out which gift card you want (or if you’d rather have a money order) and where you would like for me to mail it. Again, congratulations. You shared a beautiful memory.

  9. Look at the memories you’ve evoked in others with your 100 words. This will be difficult for you this year (and if like me, for many years, because those smells and bells tinkling and Christmas sentiments that make us sentimental and long for the simplicity of our pasts are with us because of our mothers).

  10. Merry Christmas Eve, Leslie.
    You touched me so much with your request that I send your contest prize money to a women’s shelter that I matched your prize amount and sent a check from both of us. (Thank you for being an inspiration!) Tessa is a wonderful Colorado Springs protective organization for women and their children. They were thrilled by your generosity. So, from Colorado to Canada it’s a full chorus of “We wish you a Merry Christmas…” concluded with thank you blog-hugs.
    Your story was wonderful, but you as a thoughtful and caring writer, are even more wonderful!

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