Editor: Kathryne Ogrod & Elsa Zhang
When I think about Christmas I remember the last Christmas I spent with my Grandmother. My Grandmother died February 4, 2006. On December 2005, my family got together to celebrate Christmas with her for the last time. My Grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and it spread through her body so fast there was nothing anyone could do. My Grandmother raised me when I was younger and she has always been a very important part of my life. During that Christmas, even though she told me it was the last Christmas we would celebrate together, I did not want to believe her.
Presents were wrapped in bright colored paper and a tree was decorated just as it had been decorated when I was a child. I have never enjoyed Christmas as much as other holidays because it is during a time when it is too cold to go outside. You should understand that I am a child of spring; I love to be out in nature surrounded by life and beauty with the warm sun softly kissing my skin. During the winter I am a prisoner with the harsh weather as my warden. The one part of Christmas I always enjoyed was when my family would get together in the kitchen and cook so much food the refrigerator would be full for the next two weeks! The kitchen would be alive with the heat of the stove, wonderful smells drifting from the oven, and everyone chattering about warm memories or exciting stories.
During this particular Christmas, we celebrated in the traditional way my family always celebrated Christmas. Cooking good food, wrapping beautiful presents, and telling stories of what we had been up to. But this time someone was missing. My Grandmother was too tired to get out of bed to help us cook or tell us stories about the trouble my father had gotten himself into as a child.
On Christmas morning, we all gathered in the living room to sit by the Christmas tree and open presents. My mother took pictures and my Grandmother smiled at me. I will never forget that moment. During a time when I was lost and confused, all it took was for my Grandmother to smile at me in order for me to remember that everything was going to be alright.
For me, Christmas is a time of cold and isolation; however, this is not a bad thing. Sometimes it is necessary for us to go without for a little while in order to remind us how precious life is. If I was always surrounded by the warm spring weather, green trees, and beautiful flowers - how would I know how sacred these things really are? I know, even though she is not with me in this physical world she is still with me in spirit. Christmas is here to remind us all to treasure what we have while we still have it. Love, life, and happiness are all gifts that should be cherished and never forgotten. This is after all, the true meaning of Christmas.