Thank you, Santa

This has been a rough week emotionally. Let’s just say I handled it in only the way that I could. I ended up having a meltdown during the bank’s Christmas open house, tried to run out of the bank, got stopped by Santa, and ended up crying on his shoulder. Yes, I was trying to get away from a Christmas song and ended up bawling my eyes out on Santa’s shoulder and actually calling him Santa. That would be me. I guess all of this has been getting to me a little more than I realized.

I went to visit my mother-in-law, Sally, on Wednesday and she was having a truly wonderful day. She was holding her head up off the pillow, speaking clearly, and carrying on a conversation. It was a fabulous improvement. I let her know that her oldest son was coming for a visit with weekend and bringing her dog, Buddy. She was so excited. The only bad part of the day was her cough had gotten a little worse. I let her boys know how good of a day she was having.

That night as I was cooking supper, I got a call from Sally’s care home. They had to put her in a wheelchair and take her into the living room while they changed out mattresses. She has an air mattress that helps with keeping her from developing bed sores and it stopped inflating properly. About the time she got to the living room, her head fell forward. When they went around to see her face, they saw that her eyes rolled back. She had passed out. Her oxygen went down to 88 and they put her on oxygen. When they called me, it had already gone back up to 95. Crisis hopefully averted. Nope.

The next morning I got a call from the hospice nurse wanting to discuss what we want to do. The first thing she asked was if I wanted her to go to the hospital. I said no. I made Sally a promise that I would not let them take her back to the hospital. I did give my permission for the breathing treatments and antibiotics. I reminded the nurse about Sally’s recent history and told her I was worried this could be pneumonia since she didn’t have any symptoms back in October when she first had it.

I went on to go to my home town so that I could run errands for all the parents. I check on their houses, pick up their mail, take care of their bank accounts, and all the other little stuff. It always turns into a long day. I went inside the bank instead of the drive through so that I could give a friend of Sally’s an update on her condition. They were having a big Christmas open house. Santa had a station, Wise Men were off in one corner, and the high school jazz band was still in the process of tuning their instruments in the middle of the bank.

Stupid me thought that I would give myself a treat of listening to the band for a little bit. We’re basically skipping Christmas this year and it would be nice to enjoy a little reminder of it. The band finished up and started the first tune. I love the sound of trombones. Then the song hit me and hit me hard. It was “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and it went straight to my heart. I couldn’t stop it. Tears came flooding down my cheeks. I turned and practically started running. All the kids were watching the band so Santa was left sitting there alone. He asked if I was okay and motioned me over.

He asked what was wrong and I told him I was in need of a little Christmas magic. Then it all came out. I told him about basically signing a death warrant for Sally since I knew what it meant if this was pneumonia. Then told him about starting the year with losing my father-in-law, ending it with probably losing my mother-in-law, and all the stuff in between with my parents as well. I was into the bad kind of crying by this point. He gave me a big hug, told me he loved me, I did the same, and then I ran out of the building. Yes, only the thing I could do. So, whoever was Santa at the bank this year, thank you!

Friday I woke to a call from Sally’s care home saying that x-rays had been done the day before and confirmed it. Pneumonia. I had picked up more photos for her so I went over to set them up and spend some time with her. I let her know that her son and dog had made it down safely and would see her in the morning. I just got this overwhelming feeling while I was sitting there with her. I think Buddy is the one she has been waiting for. I think after she sees him, she is going to be leaving us.

I thought I was prepared for this but I’m not. I could not get to sleep last night and didn’t want today to come. Sally has become one of my closest friends. When I do something stupid, she is the one that I want to call. Mainly it is because of her laugh. When she starts really laughing, she cannot stop. It’s the belly hurting kind of laugh and she gives them so freely. How many of us allow ourselves to laugh like that?

Anyway, in the end, it will be a broken heart that is going to kill Sally. I’m going to show my brother-in-law and his wife how to get there. That way I can be there when they leave since I know it is going to kill Sally to watch her Buddy leave. That dog is her soul mate. He is her whole life. I just have this overwhelming feeling that she will be leaving us today because of a broken heart.

Okay, my brother-in-law sent a text that they are on the way and I have 45 minutes left to shower and meet them at Home Depot. My husband came home with a killer cold so he’s having to stay home. I don’t want to do this but it is time.

Anyway, even if you are an adult, it helps to some times believe in Santa if only to get a little comfort and cry on his shoulder. Thank you, Santa!

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