Monday, December 27, 2010

reflections on bad Christmas past

This year we had a very nice Christmas here in NZ with my husbands close-knit family. Last night though, I had a dream my dad died from a heart attack so I woke up not feeling all too joyous. I spoke to my dad and step mum in Paris at Christmas and they are fine.

However, one of my NZ brother-in-laws Craig just had a mild heart attack. He is in the hospital as I type this waiting to get a coronary angiogram. We hope he is OK. He's only 51.

My worst Christmas was when I was 18. My cousin David, a year older than me, was killed in a car crash. I had seen him that year in summer time when I visited his brother, my other cousin, at his college in Iowa. I had a nice visit with my two cousins... didn't know that would be my last time seeing David. He had joined the US Marines and had just finished a tour of duty overseas when I saw him. He was toughened up, looked sharp with his blonde buzz cut and had a great looking leather jacket from somewhere in Asia had aquired via trade with a foreign soldier.

David was from a big family and his dad was my mom's closest brother in age. We had spent a lot of 4th of July parties at their house and had seen their whole family a lot growing up.

Losing their young son in his prime of life was devastating to his parents and all his siblings. I remember the church was very crowded at his funeral with many ex-girlfriends all crying their eyes out. The wake beforehand was very dramatic as well. He was laid out in his dress USMC blues and he looked so young and fit... like he would sit up at any second. There were two USMC guards also standing by the casket with flags. Wow... I'll never forget that site. David wasn't killed on duty - he was on base in a car full of young Marines and a tire blew out. A couple of the boys jumped out and pushed the car off the road - but a car didn't see them and hit them while they were pushing. David's funeral was on a December 23rd.

About a week later, my parents sat us down and told my two sisters and I they were going to get a divorce. Us kids were saddened by this... even traumatized I suppose.

So, yep, bad year for Christmas that year... I don't remember any joy.

But life has no guarantees and horrible things can happen any time, so I'm very happy I had a nice Christmas this year and spent a nice time chatting with my bro-in-law who is now having heart issues. Think I'll get off the computer now and say a little prayer he will be OK.

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