On Christmas Day, people across Delaware County will undoubtedly spend time remembering family and friends who are no longer with us, especially this year when so many have passed away from COVID-19.
While I’ve been fortunate this year to have not lost a loved one to this invisible enemy that changed our way of life in 2020, I will have someone very special on my mind yet again this Christmas — my mom, who passed away in October 2019.
At times throughout this crazy year, I’ve often found myself wondering what my mom would have thought of the coronavirus and how she would have handled it.
One thing is for sure, she wouldn’t have let it stop her from seeing her pride and joy. Of course, I’m referring to her grandson — I fell down a notch on her totem pole when my son was born.
After I graduated college and started working in the journalism field, the next logical step was to settle down and start a family. Knowing how much my mom wanted a grandbaby to spoil, which she made known every chance she got, the reaction on her face the day my wife and I told her she was going to be a grandma is one of those special moments I will never forget.
However, my world would be turned upside down a few months later when she was taken by a MedFlight ambulance to the emergency room due to an extremely high level of carbon dioxide in her body. Seeing her hooked up to a ventilator just two months before her first grandbaby was due was almost too much for me to handle.
After weeks on the ventilator followed by months in two separate rehabilitation centers, my mom was finally able to spend time with her grandson outside of a medical facility.
I have a feeling knowing her grandson was on the way was a major reason she fought so hard to survive, although she still faced an uphill battle with various lung and heart issues.
While this upcoming Christmas will be tough without her sitting in her favorite seat in our house watching us open gifts, I’m forever grateful that she was given extra time here on Earth, time in which my son got to know what I always knew — his grandma was a loving person who would do anything for her family and all of God’s creatures.
For those who lost loved ones this year, while I know it will be a difficult holiday season for you, I have some advice for when the time comes, and it will, when you find yourself missing that particular loved one: Take a moment to remember all the good times you had with that person over the years. You’ll be surprised at all the wonderful memories that come flooding back.
For instance, since my mom passed away, I’ve spent time over the past year thinking about those five extra years we were blessed to share with her following her near-death experience. While she still dealt with health issues that made getting around difficult, she toughed it out to make sure she was part of her grandson’s life, which led to memories I will cherish forever … like her spoiling him at all his birthday parties; the five Christmases she got to spend with her grandson; the several seasons of T-ball in which she got to cheer on her little slugger; and the weeklong vacation we all took together to Topsail Island in North Carolina.
It’s memories like those that make the tough times a little more bearable, especially during the holidays.
To all the Gazette readers out there, if you aren’t able to visit your mom this year due to the pandemic, make sure to give her a call or find the time to video chat with her. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t take life for granted.
What I wouldn’t give for the chance to speak to my mom just one more time.
Joshua Keeran is editor of The Delaware Gazette. Reach him by email at [email protected] or by phone at 740-413-0900.