Happy Holidays

My family spent Thanksgiving of this year eating cafeteria turkey and stuffing on the 20th floor of Mass General Hospital in my mom’s hospital room.

When someone in your life gets sick, holidays kind of become this huge thing. Partially because other people make them so (see numerous emails/letters from friends and loved ones to me and my family gently commenting on how hard the holidays must be for us right now), and mostly because you make them so (I don’t care if Mom has cancer, this is going to be the best fucking Thanksgiving EVER!).

Holidays are weird. You don’t think about them your whole life and then something happens that makes everything in your life different, and suddenly holidays are a huge, looming event that will either be amazing or horrible.

We had excitedly made plans for a family Thanksgiving dinner at home, so when disaster struck the Sunday before it wrecked havoc on everything – our wary sense of stability, our nerves, our fears, our family, our Thanksgiving.  It was a huge letdown, and a big reminder that things just weren’t right.

On Thanksgiving, I felt REALLY bad for myself. Everyone else, all my friends, were going through their Thanksgivings as if they were second nature, hating their families and getting drunk; while I was dragging my Ugg boots through the Mass General parking garage to go stare at my sick mom.

Then I got inside the hospital and noticed a whole lot of other people and families doing the exact same thing. And on that Thanksgiving, the hospital was filled with LOTS of people, their holidays also screwed and uncomfortable and wrong – and way worse than mine.

So when Christmas Eve became Christmas at midnight last night, I turned to my mom and cheered. “We’re not having Christmas in the hospital!”

And we did not, and it was great. But I know lots of people did, and will.

So I am thinking about them today, and always.

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2 Responses to “Happy Holidays”


  1. 1 E December 26, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    Kate- I have been reading your blog for a LONG time. I recently left my first comment after following you for like two years or something?! EVERYBODY should like you for your utter truths,wits and wisdoms surrounding pop culture. You say EXACTLY what many many people are thinking. When your old blog (Kate likes you )turned grim and you were running for momma, I was compelled to keep reading. I even turned a few friends on to you and there is a running bet on how long it will be before you take on Tina Fey’s old job at SNL or a well known comedic vehicle launches you into stardom. I lost my momma to pancreatic cancer on January 12,1996. The last Christmas we spent together in a well known Chicago hospital haunts me every year. My father and three sisters were not strong enough to take her away and ALL the remembrence ceremonies in the world will never take away my regret. You can not take her sickness away but you can make her memories as happy and normal as ever. Props to you for having a good head on your shoulders and for making every moment seem like yesterday. Good luck and God bless! The Belk family- Chicago, Ill

  2. 2 katespencer December 26, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you very much for your kind words! I am so sorry to hear of your own loss to this crappy disease. I will certainly think of you and your mom as I run.


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