Saturday, December 21, 2013

The reason why I love Christmas

Holidays are finally here, my exams are over and I am back at my parents' home for Christmas time. My mind is now clear and I can really think about what this celebration means to me and how much I love it. When I was a kid, I loved Christmas because I had the chance to receive loads of presents (of course), listen to Christmas carols, spend hours watching tv, eat chocolate and marvelous meals prepared by my Granny and my family, play around with my cousins ... It was the time of the year when we could all meet up and have fun together. I already loved those family moments, even as a little girl. Christmas was one of this magical and short-lived instants you only had once a year.  

For two years, Christmas has a new signification to me. In November 2011, on a Thursday evening, something happened and this event changed my entire life for ever. On the 10th, I had a birthday party and tried to call my parents to give them some news. They never picked up the phone. I found it weird, since they often tell us when they are out or have plans. But I figured they were having a romantic dinner at the restaurant. What is particularly ironic in this, is that on Friday 11th, I was driving back to my place, thinking that life was wonderful and that I was really pleased of everything I had. At noon, I called my parents and asked them where they were the night before. My Dad started to joke (as usual) and then, my Mum told me the truth: Granny was at the hospital. I was surprised and did not understand what was going on. Why would Granny be at the hospital ? She was healthy, dynamic and full of life ! It did not make any sense ! My parents explained me that she had a stroke the night before but that everything would be ok. I had no idea what a stroke was. I heard this noun several times without knowing what was involved and its consequences. I checked on the internet and I started to freak out and burst into tears. On the same afternoon, I picked up my brother from school and drove home without telling him what happened. I didn't know how to tell him or what to say. I just tried to forget about it.

Granny on Christmas 2010

The next day, we visited her in her hospital room. It was as if she had become ten years older in a few days ... I barely recognized her and yet, I did not show my feelings so she wouldn't worry about her condition. She was paralyzed on the right side, she could not speak and could not walk. She recognized us, of course, and even if she couldn't say a word, she made me understand she did not like my torn jeans. I was relieved: she still had her bad temper ! But my poor Granny who was such a talkative and sociable woman couldn't speak. That day was a shock. For the very first time in my life, I realized that one of the person I loved the most in the world was not eternal. That she may not be there on my wedding day or would not hold her great grand children ... It torn my heart into million pieces. And my life took a completely different way. I did not care about what the gossips in college or about my professors' pressure for the exams. 

For seven weeks, my life was only about going to college during the week, driving home on the Friday evening to visit her, working on the week-ends and see her whenever I could. It was so hard to come to visit her, to be strong, to face her illness and not cry in front of her. Through the weeks, I realized that nothing would be the same: she might not be able to live in her home, to cook for herself and for us or even drive. Somehow I thought I have lost her for ever. That was selfish and I was wrong. Of course, I miss her baking and cooking, and even if she is more fragile, she is still here. She was and still is so strong and such an inspiration to me ... In seven weeks, I saw some kind of miracle happening. At first, she was in a wheelchair. The week after, she was walking with a Zimmer frame. A week later, she had crutches and about a month after her stroke, she could walk on her own. She started to speak again, thanks to all the doctors and the support she had in her rest home. 
Granny and I, October 2010
Finally, another miracle happened. A few days before Christmas, the nurses told us that Granny would be allowed to go home for a week-end and for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was more than happy that she would be with us on that special day of the year. We organized her home to make it easier for her to move. She had a bed on the living room so she did not have to take the stairs, we were here to look after her and help. On Christmas day, we were all really moved. This truly was a special moment that will always remain in my memory. When we gave Granny her presents, she said she did not want anything. She could not say it, but I know that to her, being here with us was the only gift she needed. She started to cry, and so did I. Nobody said a word for a few minutes and the room was filled with emotion. Being with her was my miracle and the best present I would ever have. A week after Christmas, Granny finally left her nursing home to return to her house for good. 

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