I was at home having what I call a full blown pity party for myself. It was my first day of vacation, as I am a junior high English teacher, and I had spent the day completing my Christmas shopping. Well, really I completed my dad’s Christmas shopping. It has been one hard year. My father was hospitalized for 10 days in February. He was just about to go back to work when my mother went in on March 23 to have her gall bladder removed. It was planned as day surgery but there were complications and she was hospitalized. During the surgery they found nodules which turned out to be cancer. A few days later they went in to do a hysterectomy but couldn’t because the cancer had spread, everywhere. We were told she had stage four ovarian cancer that had spread throughout her whole body. She came home for only two days before going back into the hospital. I took family medical leave and was with my mom for the last days of her life. After being in three different hospitals, she was eventually moved to hospice where she finally passed peacefully. Being the oldest child and the only daughter I was left to take care of my dad. My parents had been married for 44 years and my dad was lost when she passed.
I’m a single mom of a 17 year old daughter and my mother was my best friend. This year has been so hard. Along with losing my mom, my family has broken apart. My relationship with my younger brother and his wife is strained. I have a cousin who was always like a sister to me, but due to some events and things that were said during my mother’s illness and after her death, we no longer speak. My daughter was very close to my mother, her grandmother, and is having a hard time coping with her absence. I decided to stay busy during the holiday season and get a second job. I thought this would not only keep my mind off the holidays but the extra money would come in handy since I haven’t received child support since April. Needless to say that working retail along with teaching has exhausted me. I am still broke, sad, lonely and missing my mother.
On this night, a few days before Christmas, the doorbell rings. I’m in my pajamas already even though it is early evening and my dog is barking non-stop. A nicely dressed gentlemen that I’ve never seen before is on my doorstep and says he has a present for me. He hands me a jar full of money, a copy of Christmas Jars and a note addressed to my daughter and myself. I break out into tears as I read the letter. I read how each coin and dollar was a wish and a prayer for us to have a better year. The letter recognized how much we were missing my mom and hoped that the jar would help ease our pain. I sat on the couch and cried uncontrollably. I can’t believe that I’m so blessed. The Christmas Jar could not have shown up at a more perfect time. It made me realize that I have many blessings in my life and many people who care for me.
Being an avid reader, I had to know the story behind the Christmas Jar so I quickly read the book. I broke out into tears when I read how Hope’s mother passed away from ovarian cancer, that was too eerie for me. I could so relate. I’m still in shock that during one of my deepest, darkest moments of this holiday season the Christmas Jar appeared. Honestly, I had just about given up on the season of believing but one small gesture has restored my belief. My daughter and I will for sure start our own Christmas Jar to pass on this time next year.
Never in my life have I ever been so touched!