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Christmas Eve Story

Demas is a professional author and freelancer. He published and edited two newspapers. He is a historian and graduate of the Univ. of NH.

It was a beautiful house, but a lonely home.

a-christmas-eve-story

No one should be alone on Christmas Eve....

It was not an easy year for me, and that's the truth.

For some time that year Donna had been declining with Alzheimer's, and after 63 years of love and laughter, my wife no longer recognized me. She even rejected me and said that her real husband was much younger. Showing her a photo of the two of us, when we were younger, didn't stir her trapped memories, and visits to her facility grew painful for both of us---though she would not remember and I would.

Before that thief of a disease ran its course, my recently retired son Randy had returned from a Hawaii vacation with his wife and announced that he was going to undergo experimental treatments at an outstanding university hospital. He had just been diagnosed with a rapid form of melanoma.

His disease was much faster than Donna's and it robbed me of Randy in short order, along with all the frequent visits and outings which had made my life so meaningful and comforted while we lost his mother and my companion to the darkening fog of her forgetfulness.

I had consoled myself with the knowledge that Donna did not have to suffer Randy's decline and loss, for she was oblivious to it while I had known full well how painful it would have been for her. God's gift to her seemed a double blow to me.

The house which once rang with the laughter of children, and a precious wholeness that only happy families know, became cavernous with constant reminders of what had been lost in such a short space of time.

My own health was suffering the ravages of the stresses which even a normal old age can bring on. Heart worries, joint replacements, merely accompanied the depression which set in following Randy's funeral. Life had caved in on me.

And then it was to be a treeless Christmas.

It was painful to shop for my groceries. The world had swallowed up the two people most dear to me without even a hint of indigestion. The outside world was its usual festive self. The songs and decorations seemed to mock my mood. I felt abandoned and ignored, a faceless face, uninvited to the feast and merriment I had grown to resent.

On that Christmas Eve I drove home with my milk and eggs, cans of soup, and the cookies I hoped might help me to survive until the stores reopened.

The neighbors' homes were brightly lit, with extra cars and vans parked nearby the homes of those neighbors who were staying home for Christmas, and I parked in the driveway as the snow for what was to be another white Christmas fell softly and silently covering the walk to the stairs up to my front door.

I was concentrating on getting out my keys so I could get in out of the cold, so it was a total surprise when I looked down toward the snow-covered "Welcome" mat and saw a small dog wagging his tail which was sweeping the mat excitedly at my arrival.

He was attached to the door knob with a ribbon-secured leash and a brief note which stated simply "I was lonely this Christmas, too. Let's go in."

_______Epilogue_______

That was five Christmases ago, Donna and Randy's smiling pictures grace the mantel over the fireplace. My other children and theirs are due any minute for Christmas Eve, bringing with them the dishes we will all enjoy around the candle lit table, while a "just right" Christmas tree sparkles in the living room.

Galahad rests at my feet, watching my every move. I'm sure he knows the children will soon arrive, and he will be patted and pampered by many more hands than the usual two.

We speak an unspoken language of love, we two. And when I think back to that bleak Christmas Eve five years ago, I sometimes notice that his tail starts to duplicate that same sweeping motion that swept away more than just the falling snow from the "Welcome" mat that evening.

_______

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Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.



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Comments

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 15, 2019:

We are 10 days from another Christmas. I hope this story will be worth a first or second read from Hubbers and those they might send it to. I work as a volunteer Senior Companion, part of the federally funded Senior Corps I have described elsewhere. One of my clients is among the many who, along with their families, must deal with Alzheimer's and other serious concerns at this normally joyous season. The program gives his 24/7 caregiver wife eight hours each week when she can have respite time. If you have the time, join in and make the difference that you can make.

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 20, 2018:

It is mid-January 2018 as I write this comment. Last night we had the first real snow of this winter. Some six inches of the white, light, fluffy stuff now coats each branch and twig where once only skeletons of summer remained. My cousin (the tragic hero of this true tale) has himself passed away at a hospital that couldn't solve his problem (perhaps even adding to it.) His was a heavy load of end-of-life sadness compensated for by his other children and grandchildren, and his love of a dog. May he rest in peace, and may you share your own happiness with others like him who may just need a neighbor and friends who care enough to stretch their outreach.

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 02, 2017:

It is my hope that everyone found comfort, even joy, from this special season that is so quickly passing again, and that you celebrated the New Year 2017 with a cup full of hope as well as good cheer. May you be sheltered from tragedy and buoyed by kindred spirits, as well as reaching out to meet the needs of others, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 04, 2015:

savvydating - See my reply to Jean Bakula above. This happened to a cousin of mine, thankfully not to me.

Yves on January 04, 2015:

What a heartwarming message of hope. I can just picture that beautiful little puppy waiting anxiously for his new master to come home. And the note someone left.....so perfect. Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad that Galahad has brought some much needed joy into your life. May you be blessed this year and every year from now on. You deserve it after all you've been through.

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 24, 2014:

Merry Christmas, and may you have an exceptional New Year 2015.

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 07, 2014:

P. S. I wrote this for him for Christmas and he told me "I wouldn't change a word."

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 06, 2014:

Jean Bakula - This is a true story, but of a distant cousin I am close to. His experiences are recounted, the ending is mine, though he had expressed the desire to have a dog to fill his void. Getting a pet is a good idea, and many pets want only to love and please you. Choose a good one.

I'm glad you appreciated the story. Get some sleep.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on December 06, 2014:

What a beautiful story. I'm so sorry you had to go through such terrible pain. My husband of 39 years died this January, and this is the first Christmas I will be spending without him in all those years. We have an adult son, and we decided not to get a tree or decorate either. We are going to the Caribbean and leaving very early Christmas Eve morning.

I think it's best, it would be too hard to do the usual things without my husband and son's father. It's too early to make new traditions, as everyone so blithely suggests. I'm not getting any younger, and have changed traditions many times as parents and family passed on. Others have suggested I get a pet, but I'm not sure. I'm glad you are enjoying yours. Thank you for sharing your story, it helps to know others have gone through such pain and survived, and better.

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 22, 2013:

Perhaps an old or new Habber will "resurrect" this Christmas Eve Story for this Christmas?

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 26, 2012:

YogaKat: Here's hoping you had a wonderful Christmas Day. Thanks for stopping by again and your comment.

YogaKat from Oahu Hawaii on December 25, 2012:

Wonderful story . . . I have a very similar hub. "My Pitbull Valentine"arrived in the nick of time. Merry Christmas to you:)

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 25, 2012:

Thanks for the votes, comments, and sharings. I hope yours has been a very Merry Christmas of sharing with those you are close to including any pets which have a place in your heart. May Christ have a lasting place, also, now and always.

.

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on December 25, 2012:

This is such a wonderful Christmas eve story and should have been hub of the day.

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a awesome New Year !

epigramman on December 24, 2012:

...well my friend your story certainly made my Hub year - it is one of the best I've ever read here - certainly the most moving and touching - and it showcases a great writer - and I am sure Amy would agree with me. Sending you Christmas greetings from lake erie time ontario canada 1;33am from Colin and his cats Tiffy and Gabriel and still no snow yet as they had forecast

Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 24, 2012:

It is nearing midnight and the start of Christmas Day 2012. So far, 25 views of this story have resulted in the two comments above. If I should receive no more comments, these two have made my day, along with approval from my mother and sister. Tomorrow, when my family gathers for Christmas Day, presents, food, and the important reminders for why we celebrate Christ's birthday, I will read this story to those other 22 who will attend our family gathering. The story will have special meaning to them.

epigramman on December 24, 2012:

.......I just knew, Sir, when the one and only Amy Becherer sent me this link with a note which more or less reflects her comment here, that yes I just had to make a visit. And I am so glad I did.

Without taking anything away from 'your story' this would make such a beautiful and moving Christmas film classic to be watched year after year - as it is my new friend you have most definitely made my Christmas a lot brighter because I live alone in this world without any family except for my two best friends Little Miss Tiffy and Mister Gabriel (my cats) and in many ways I relate to your story on an intimate level but also I have become aware of a world class writer and gentleman who wrote - thanks to our angel friend , Miss Becherer.

Sending you warm Christmas wishes and hugs from my two cats and continued good health for you Sir, happiness and prosperity in the new year - from lake erie time ontario canada 7:17pm

p.s. - I will link , post and share this timeless classic to the Hubpages FB group to offer some more readers to you ....

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on December 24, 2012:

Oh, Perspycacious, this is the most gut level real and beautiful Christmas story I have ever read. It moved me beyond tears, as I sobbed through, understood and related to your miraculous tale. Pain, Alzheimers and even death doesn't keep a calendar. Yet, hope lives on. And a miracle of connection and love was waiting on the doorstep that Christmas five years ago. Your story would make an eloquent, never to be forgotten film, dear heart. It is simply the most touching story I have ever read. Merry Christmas, Perspycacious and thank you.

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