Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Spirit


December 26, 2013; a day which seems pretty regular to most people as they prepare for gift returns, spending more time with family members if they aren’t too busy with work, eating leftovers, finding activities to keep the children busy during their holiday break from school…the list goes on.
For my mother, December 26th will be a day she will always remember as she bears new fruits and embarks on added journeys which God and time have been so kind to bequeath upon her.  Because it was on this very same day back in 2012, she received a new liver and ultimately; her new life. 

Christmas Day was a completely different experience for us this year because during the previous holiday, my mother was basically a zombie as her soul shadowed around us.  Most of her energy had already abandoned her body and left it to fend for itself.  My mom struggled to walk, speak and eat with us on that bitterly cold, desolate and borrowed Christmas Day.  Unable to smile and laugh because liver disease numbs one's facial expressions, my mother was already a memory.  She should have been dead by this time since the doctors had given her a year to live in November of 2011. 

As her soul danced around us, an angel must have been parading throughout the house with our memories; trying to find reason to keep my mother alive.  This angel must have felt the energy in the house that day; an energy strong enough thanks to the determination and gratefulness of my mom’s soul.  This angel must have rushed up to God’s mercy and put in a good word for her as our family quietly sought out more time for our irreplaceable mother. 

And God did just that.  He granted this angel his or her wish (I’m still not sure which one of our beloved ancestors was there day) and sent a liver to Lady of Lourdes hospital for my mother on December 26th, 2012.  We don’t know where the liver came from or who the donar was but one thing is for sure, as God granted one angel’s wish, He welcomed another into His Kingdom.  I believe in doing so, He knew my mother still had work to do here for Him and since this angel was so convincing, a priceless exchange was made and the fate of my mother was changed in the favor of God’s gracious and merciful hands. 
 

My mom’s work has begun as her story has already changed the lives of people who have been struggling with alcoholism.  She is helping people to understand that this isn’t just something one decides to engage with each and every single day.  Alcoholism is a disease; it’s an entity which takes control of one’s mind, heart and soul.  It engulfs you, takes a hold of you, and ultimately, defines who you become. 
God has a plan for each and every one of us.  However, when we allow certain demons and false freedoms to get in the way of our work for Him, the plan withers away with every drink we take or ungodly mistake we choose to make.  For a long time, I wished that alcohol didn’t have such an incredible hold upon me.  Every morning I woke up after a night of binge-drinking, I told myself I wouldn’t drink that day.  Inevitably, the disease won every single time as I found myself succumbing to a bottle of wine each night.

Consequently, seeing my mother healthy and filled with love and an unexplainable newfound energy is more than I could have ever imagined this Christmas.  The Christmas spirit is about giving to others and helping mankind as we love and support one another (it took me sometime to discover the spirit this holiday only because I witnessed so many not celebrating its true meaning). 
So our Christmas gift to you is our story which we can only hope and dream will help change the lives of people who are struggling with this disease or striving to understand that it is in fact, a disease.  There are many people out there who don’t think alcoholism is a disease.  Hell, I didn’t think it was until I saw my mother bleeding from her veins, bruised, blown up like an elephant, as yellow as a banana, and STILL DRINKING.  I didn’t think it was a disease and heck if I had a problem or would even admit to it if I did because I thought I had everything under control.  The thing is, nobody has this illness under any kind of control until they realize it is a sickness and they need to get rid of the sickness to understand they desperately need help. 
I recently shared with you my step-father was remarried this past summer.  Over the holiday, my mother and I spent some time with my dad’s new wife.  My dad is still struggling to understand how the disease works but his wife, Lovely L, had the same internal fight as she watched her own mother’s rise and fall with alcoholism.  She watched her mom suffer and fall into a coma from liver failure.  Lovely L also confided in me that she knew exactly what my mother had struggled with.  God works in mysterious ways and because my mom hurt my dad, just as I disappointed one of my own past loves and best friends, he has laid out our work for us and plotted certain people within our paths.  People who will continue to help us rise to the occasion and surround my family with the love, beauty and strength it needs to conquer whatever obstacles lies ahead.  I believe Lovely L will eventually help my dad to forgive my mother someday; a forgiveness which can only manifest in his own understanding. 
 

Even though I was given a gift which was well worth more than anything a person could receive, my soul still wasn’t completely satisfied because of the disappointment it had found in what it thought to have been its counterparts.  However, I was quickly reminded that the Christmas Spirit comes in all shapes and sizes.  This year, it was a simple understanding of the work my mother and I have to do here for others.  The Christmas Spirit lies within the simplicity of the world, the kindness in gestures, and the engaging with new and incredibly understanding people.  It lies within people like my dad’s new wife who even though has the privilege of taking on the added baggage of a new family and all of its problems, sees past all of this and welcomes everyone with open arms.  The Christmas Spirit is giving love to one another which is one of the most beautiful things God has always asked us to do.  And in doing so, we, as human beings, are capable of carrying the burdens of others as we help to eliminate prejudices, hatred and misunderstanding which come from the days that lead up to Christmas. 
 

On this day and every day which lies ahead, I hope to take what I’ve learned and carry it with me for all of the days to come.  Not just on Christmas but on every single occasion here on after.  We are all brothers and sisters here…mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.  There is no room for adandonment and even less time for misunderstanding.  Get it right and if someone isn’t going in the right direction, take their hand and show them the way.  I love you all!  And have a Very Merry After Christmas!

 

18 comments:

  1. That was beautiful, Gina. I hope people will learn from your story and your mother's. And it's really great that you want to help others. Merry After Christmas to you!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I really hope so too because this is the greatest give we can give to other people. Merry After Christmas!

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  2. Of course this made me cry... Tears of joy more than any other. God is GOOD! All the time. Even when we don't see it. Thanks to Him and all the prayers, that your mom is here today. I'm so blessed that I've been able to see her and spend quality time talking about memories & laughing until it hurts.

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    1. Dawn, this means so much to my mother and me. Thank you for sharing. She was just talking about how grateful she is to be here spending added quality time with everyone. You know how much we all love to laugh until it hurts:) Best memories ever.

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  3. Lovely insights here, and how wonderful your mother received a new liver and has been able to turn her life around.

    Alcoholism is a very destructive disease, even if the person is a "happy drunk" and functions well at work, etc. and there don't SEEM to be any serious issues. One of the dearest friends was the daughter of one such... she became an alcoholic herself, and lost her life last year, when she was only 43. Yes, she was an adult and responsible for her own choices, but what she learned at her father's knee DID make up a part of her behavior.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your dear friend, Beverly. I remember you mentioning her before and she actually crosses my mind when I think about the lives we have lost to this horrible disease. I know we can't force people to change their ways but hopefully our stories can help pave enlightenment for those who are being lead into the dark.

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  4. What a beautiful and inspiring post! I am so happy for you and your mother and this wonderful blessing you've had. Yes, alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases, and it's destroyed so many beautiful people's lives. But there is always hope to turn things around. And your story is an encouragement for those still struggling.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Beverly. We know this is only the beginning as there is much work to be done. Even if we've helped to save at least one or two lives, my heart will be forever gracious. Because it's opportunities such as these that can turn the darkness to light and change a death sentence into a new life.

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  5. This was lovely, Gina...as usual. Upbeat, inspiring, hopeful. It's amazing how God works through others, isn't it? I thought of that when I read about your Lovely L as she graces your family with a spirit that swells with some renewed vigour and an aura that brings some sort of calm. I truly hope that she does bring a new dimension to your dad's (mis)understanding of alcoholism. I mean, many people don't care what it is, as long as their loved one is healthy and sober. I don't try to educate those who are set in their ways, so I just show by example of what a recovered alcoholic can look like. Following spiritual principles and following the nudgings of the Creator, I pray that I may do His work and will, and not mine. And you do that here, Gina. You are a vessel for God and you do wonderful work. You are a beacon, as is your mother, and you both shine.

    Thank you for sharing this...what a wonderful message :)

    Blessings,
    Paul

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  6. It is quite incredible; the power God demonstrates as he places certain people in our lives at such pivotal moments. I know what you mean about not trying to educate those who live within their own mindset. I understand this completely because I was once one of those people. However, as we continue to follow in the footsteps of the Creator, I'm sure others will follow. Because it's in our destiny, my friend, to take the hands of our loved ones as well as those we barely know but need our help...and show them a new way, a better way, and ultimately, the only way to live a truly beautiful and blessed life.
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and kindness here as always. You, too, are an inspiration to me=)

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  7. I'm glad this 26th was so much better than last year.

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  8. I am late reading this one, but the message is still wonderful even after Christmas. I am so happy that your mom was able to enjoy the company of her loved ones this Christmas, and that her soul is still shining brightly and with purpose. Your mother's story is truly life changing, even to those of us who don't suffer from alcoholism. The strength the two of you show is remarkable. We can all grow from your message.

    I believed your step-father will forgive your mom someday. In his own time and on his terms. I think forgiveness is always the toughest things for us to do when someone hurts us. Lord knows I have held onto grudges, but in the case with my half-brother there comes a point when forgetting and forgiving is impossible. And cutting them out of our life is for the better.

    Anyway, this was a beautiful post. Thank you once again for sharing!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Chrys. Your words mean a lot to both my mother and me.
    Forgiveness is a very hard gift for many people to give to others. I've held onto grudges, like yourself, but have since learned that the best way for me to move on with my life is to forgive. Although I am still growing and learning as a human being, I do find it hard at times to let go of the past. I will get there someday and I'm sure you will to. Because when we truly forgive, we set ourselves free. A freedom which I once held onto when I used to drink to forget instead of living and breathing to forgive.

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    1. Well said, Gina. I wish my half-brother the best deep in my heart, and I have prayed that he would fix his life, but a part of me still can't forgive him for the damage he caused to me, my mom, and to my sister. I think it would be easier to forgive him if he had changed, but he is the same man as when I was a child. Maybe I will forgive him one day. When I'm old and grey. haha

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    2. It's sad when the people who should matter most in our lives just can't seem to be courageous and mature enough to fix what needs to be done; especially within the family. I hope your brother learns to take a deep look inside and reevaluate his faults. Our lives would be so much easier if the people we depended on for comfort, love and support were intelligent and understanding enough to see how important relationships within our own kin really are.

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