Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas happened. I know it did because all the presents I got for my friends and family are gone, and my house is filled with thoughtful gifts. I also vaguely remember sitting in church on Christmas Eve, as I have done for 38 years of my life, before having to leave quite quickly thanks to the norovirus. Other than those two indicators, I have no idea how Christmas went. That's why I'm calling it the Ghost of Christmas Present.  It was real; it happened; I didn't really experience it. Luckily for me, I can feel the spiritual aspect of Christmas, the gift of God's Grace, all year long. But the nostalgia of those little memories made every holiday will be missing the nuances of 2013, and that's okay. It's not how I planned it, but it's okay.

<cute picture of my nephew Chase to make you smile before you read the next few paragraphs

You see three years ago on Christmas Day, I spent the entire day in Intensive Care with my mother. The doctors couldn't or wouldn't say if she was going to make it or not, and things were very grim. The most they could say was that "if" she made it, her kidneys probably wouldn't, and they weren't sure if her brain swelling, which was causing her terrifying semi-lucid hallucinations, would ever subside.  We were in a huge hospital, the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. They are so large they have two different Critical Care Units; Mom was on the 5th floor. Directly across the hall from this unit was a Special Care Unit, and in it was my grandmother, my mother's mother, dying at age 98 from injuries related to a fall. My mother wasn't even in a state of mind to know or understand her mom was dying across the hall from her, and my grandmother wasn't in a state of mind to know her daughter was dying across the hall from her either. And there I sat. When the nurses had to kick me out of the ICU to perform sterile procedures I went across the hall to see Gramam, but mostly I just sat next to my mother's bed and cried while she slept, and tried to pretend I hadn't been crying when she was awake.

In the middle of the afternoon on Christmas day my pastor came to visit. My dad was at my brother's for a bit so as not to disappoint my niece, too young to understand what was going on but old enough to be very excited about Christmas. My husband, at my insistence, had gone to his mother's for a bit. It was just Pastor Byerly, me, and my sleeping mother. We prayed together with her and over her, and later that day my family and I got a Christmas gift better than any we had ever received or hoped for when her kidneys started to come around and her brain swelling subsided.  The doctor there said he literally couldn't explain what had happened to pull her out of the trouble she was in. He said "It's like her body fixed itself."  But I was there. I know it didn't fix itself. I know God did that, and every Christmas that doesn't play out with me in the ICU praying for a miracle is a wonderful, blessed Christmas.

So yeah, I just got a little intense on you, and quite personal. I wanted to share why I'm not going to spend any more time dwelling on how many times I actually vomited directly on myself during this illness (twice) because the Ghost of Christmas Past is so much scarier than the Ghost of Christmas Present, which just amounts to some discomfort and no warm fuzzy moments to keep in my nostalgic and often inaccurate memory from this year. Now, after my poignant story, we need some happy pet pictures to close out this holiday post and put Christmas of 2013 in the books. Without further sentimental ado, I present some of the wonderful pictures from this Christmas.

This is Ruby, who can be found on Instagram @kristine_e_parrish, playing with her candy cane.

And here she is in front of the tree.

Here are Charlie and Ginger, inspecting their stockings in unison.

Look at Ginger!

She was very interested in the train too.

You can follow them @ataleof2canines.

Gina shared her pack. We've featured them here before (well, not Mr. Wilson just yet) and you can see her fantastic dog pictures @pawprintsbyfox.

Moo Latte


Mr. Wilson


 And her rescued guinea pig, Bianca.

Then we have some more pictures from @pmaxstrong1. . . I just couldn't resist.

Bella and Sampson seemed to really enjoy themselves.

@lunathetoona got something from Santa too.

Some friends shared their pet pictures. Kayla sent Duke, posing nicely in front of the tree.

And Ruzena sent this picture of her two rescues, who both came from the same high-kill shelter. Their names are Fable(bigger) and Felicity (tiny). 

I snapped this picture of Leroy sleeping under Kim's tree last night,

while Kim shared this picture of Fanny trying to help her wrap.

Wiley also tried to "help" by lying on top of everything and frantically chewing his ball because no one was paying attention to him.

He is insufferable.

During the few minutes I could actually be a part of my family's Christmas Eve, I had the joy of seeing my nieces discover what Santa had left for them at Nana and Pap's while we were all at church.

They were watched over by my parents' two bichons who were dressed as Santa and an elf. I wasn't around them long enough to get a good picture before I got sick, but here you can see Cujoe in the middle and Gracie sitting on the chair with my mom on the right.

They wore their costumes like the good sports they always are.

And finally, I'm going to conclude this post with some pictures from a rescue dog and cat celebrating their first Christmas with baby Owen!

This was Rosco's second Christmas with his forever family. That's why he just accepts that there will be posing in hats.

Meanwhile this is Moose's first Christmas, and everything is pretty fascinating.

Rosco posed in front of the tree.

Moose posed under it.

Rosco also enjoyed his toy.

And even if Owen doesn't remember his first Christmas, the rest of us will thanks to pictures like these.

My goal was to give you enough happy pictures to make up for the sad story at the beginning. Did it work? If not keep clicking around other blog posts until you feel better. When you're finished, share with your friends. Also, if you have a rescue story you'd like to share with me, email me at

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