As another Thanksgiving fades into memory and Christmas and the holidays approach, this year is going to be different.

For the first time in my life, I will spend Christmas without a call or card from my mom. In case you didn't know, I lost my mom in March. She had battled a failing heart for more than two years and in the end it gave out.

My father has been dead since 1981 and I realize I've spent more years without him than I have with him. But mom has always been there. When I was in Kuwait, I called her. She was so surprised at how clear the call was. For a moment, she thought I was stateside. When I was stationed in Germany, I called her, and though the miles between us was great, I always knew Mom was there. When her first grandchild was born, I called Mom from the hospital and was the first to call her grandma. I told her she had a granddaughter--she and my dad has always wanted a girl. When my son was born, I videotaped him and my daughter, and some of the sights and sounds of Germany for her to enjoy.

Recently my church did a Christmas drama with music and I had a solo part. Because of the 700 miles that separated us, Mom usually didn't get a chance to hear me sing and perform much in the past two decades. This time, I think she did and I sang my heart out because I figured she was watching.

Through births and deaths, ups and downs of life, there was always Mom to lean on. The end was tough on her and watching her struggle and slowly fade away was tough on my brother and I. Perhaps you are watching the decline of a parent. I know your pain and I feel your frustrations.

So Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad. I love and miss you.


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