Ana’s Advent Calendar Day 5: 3rd Annual Blue Christmas


Saranna has been a friend since I first began publishing. She’s helped me with sex scenes (er, writing them and not performing them…), lent an ear, and been a good friend in more ways than one. When her mother died earlier this year, I watched Saranna come to terms with this loss in her usual amazingly strong way. Saranna is someone I respect and love, and I asked her to share her story with you.

Our dear friend Bas said two years ago, a few months before he died, that Christmas is joy and grief at the same time. Remembering those we’ve lost and making room for new loved ones. You can see Bas’ comment on the first Blue Christmas here. I also talked about Bas for Advent Calendar last year here. This year, I remember my dear quilting granny friend who died in September, and I worry about another friend whose health has taken a drastic turn. Heather Fortman, who ordinarily would be one of our rowdiest players, is grieving the unexpected death of her mother on Wednesday.

Life is not fair. But in the midst of the unfairness, I hope we can find community in our loss and love.

Saranna will respond to comments today. Please do respond to her post, but also name someone (or more than one) who is in your heart today. Hugs and love from Ana.

And now, for Saranna–

First Christmases


I had a lot I wanted to say when I started writing this post and a lot of it was hard and maybe just a little bit ugly. Not ugly like it was cruel, but ugly like the cry face that some people have that’s just so visceral it hurts to look at them. But I decided I don’t need that. I’ve got enough of it and that’s not what I want to spread around. It’s not what she would want me to spread around.

As I’m writing this, it’s my mom’s birthday. She would’ve been 73. This is my first Christmas without her. It’s my first of many things without her. It’s hard not to focus on the challenges of our relationship, because some of those are regrets. But regret is fairly useless emotion unless you learn from it.

She used to tell me I’d have regrets when she was gone, and I do, but not the same ones she thought I’d have. Even though I’ll give her that one. I learned in the last few years that it didn’t kill me to tell her she was right.

But I am who I am because of her.

I’ve never known a more stubborn woman in all of my life. Locking horns with her growing up, it was like a young ram hardening his skull. And it is that hard. I’ll lock horns with anyone, if I think it’s warranted. Correction: Not just anyone, but anything too. Even a brick wall. Eventually one of us has to fall down and it’s not going to be me. That’s served me well all through my many different career paths. You’d have thought that it would’ve served me best when I was a corrections officer, but you know what was harder than that? Being a writer.

She gave me my love of books and writing, too.

When my parents took me home the first time, I was a little over a year old. My adoption wasn’t final until my second birthday.

My first year of life was pretty much an Easy Bake recipe for How To Make A Sociopath. I was neglected both physically and emotionally. I wasn’t held, I was malnourished, and I had motor delays. I couldn’t even sit up for very long by myself when child services took custody. I have their original notes. The case worker thought I was retarded. Her words, not mine.

My mother read to me all the time, held me all the time, quit her job to stay home and work with me because I had an attachment disorder.

I’ve worked through my attachment disorder, I’m a mostly functional, empathetic, intelligent human being with a MENSA IQ. I’m a successful writer. I’m a successful mother.

And I can sit up on my own for however long I want to.

Christmas was her favorite holiday, at least it was until she lost all of her family. Then, not so much. Then it was more about melancholy and memories of years past.

But this year, when I first started missing her, I started getting out the Christmas decorations. Because she loved them. Because they made me feel close to her. Someone said that for every Christmas decoration out before Thanksgiving, a baby reindeer dies. Well, let’s just say at my house, reindeer might be an endangered species.

And I don’t care. Decorating for Christmas and feeling the Christmas spirit in my bones and in my heart isn’t about what other people think about it. It’s about me. It’s about her. It’s about the memories that bind us together, the rituals that commit these times past to the forever pages in our minds. It’s about getting a few more minutes to spend with my mother.

Not the woman who was there in her skin when she got sick, paranoid and delusional, but the one I know was there underneath trying to get out. The one who saw that little girl who needed her, held her in her arms and said, “yeah, we want this one.”

I’m determined this is going to be a good Christmas for my girls. We’re about to go shopping for our tree. They wanted to do it today because it’s my mom’s birthday. It’s going to be a new tradition that today is the day we buy the tree, today is the day that we remember, and today is the day we keep her with us always.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing this day with me. I hope the Christmas season brings you whatever you need most this year.


Saranna DeWylde


Saranna DeWylde has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Since then, she’s published horror, romance and narrative nonfiction. Like all writers, Saranna has held a variety of jobs, from operations supervisor for an airline, to an assistant for a call girl, to a corrections officer. But like Hemingway said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.” So she traded in her cuffs for a full-time keyboard. She loves to hear from her readers.

92 thoughts on “Ana’s Advent Calendar Day 5: 3rd Annual Blue Christmas

  1. Sarah says:

    Christmas is a difficult time for many reasons. There will be 3 empty seats this year. As I have for the last few years, I will try my hardest to make it special for my youngest son. Saranna and everyone here, I wish you love, hope and peace this season.


  2. abby says:

    We have something in common. This is my first Christ mas without my mom, she died the end of September. I still want to call her every day. She was the heart of our family. My siblings and i talked about not doing the all out Christmas that she loved so….but we finally came to our senses and knew she would be so disappointed…her great-grands deserve that we give them what she gave us…unconditional love, knowing and feeling the importance of family and memories…and a Christmas celebration that started with pork pie for breakfast and did not end til the little ones were falling asleep.
    She will be in all of our hearts, as we show her…she taught us well.
    I wish you lots of love and peace as you celebrate…
    hugs abby


  3. Jay says:

    First off let me say I am sorry for your loss but so happy that you and your kids are taking the opportunity to make this a joyous season in her memory instead of thinking about her not being there because as long as you keep her energy alive she will always be with you…
    Christmas day was a time for my dad’s side of the family to get together and it all changed when I was 8 and my granny died… it just wasn’t the same anymore and as a child I didn’t understand why…
    Christmas eve was the time my mom’s side of the family would get together until my grandma passed when I was a teenager and it saddens me because she was the one keeping that side of the family together and it fell apart so easily after that…
    Why am I telling you all this sad stuff? Hell I don’t know but here is the good part…
    after my grandma died my mom needed to get away so she took me and two of her friends to Disney during the holiday and that is what I remember more than anything else… more than the hurt more than the loss… I remember the fun we had together… that was over 20 years ago and I can still remember James earl Jones reading the night before Christmas after the parade…. as for my dad’s side of the family well it still hurts thinking about my granny but above all I remember how happy I was when I was around her even though I was so young… decorating always reminds me of her and there is a special decoration that I love to put in a different spot each year so she has something new to look at all the time…
    ok enough about that I have to run there is something in my eye…

    Remember the good times you had with people instead of the fact that they aren’t physically with you they always will be in your hearts if you let them


    • sarannadewylde says:

      That is definitely a good part. Disney at Christmas is kind of magical. Well, more so than normal. I hope your memories are close to you this season. Thanks so much for the well wishes.


  4. Tina S. says:

    Saranna, thank you for sharing your story of loss with us. I am glad that you still have the Christmas spirit. I lost on of my best friends a few months ago, and am still having a hard time as it was unexpected. It’s also hard that I have a child that has been sick most of his life, and not knowing if this will be his last Christmas.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      Oh, honey. {hugs you so tight} I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through. I’ll keep him and you in my petitions.


  5. sassytwatter says:

    Saranna thank you so much for sharing. Your post was beautiful I felt the live you have for your mother. It also made me stop and think a lot. Thank you so much for sharrying. Wishing you & yiur girls a wonderful hokiday season.


  6. traceygee393 says:

    What a difficult and beautiful post, Saranna. Sometimes it is just so right to start the day with a good cry, as I did. For you, for others, for ourselves. May you have many precious moments this holiday with your mum. Thank you for sharing this. Each year I have an ache in my heart for my lost loved ones. Your post gave me an unexpected moment to mourn, but also to smile and be thankful for the time we had together.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I’ve been sniffling while reading these comments. I cried when I wrote it. It’s been that kind of week, but it’s not bad. There’s been so much warmth and caring here. Kind of like a balm. I hope your season is beautiful.


  7. Joelle Casteel says:

    Thanks you so much for that, Sarannna. I understand what you said, the cry face. My Master goes right into soothe mode when I start crying, but then I think part of that is because He knows how much of my childhood was spent crying alone. I’m hoping we decorate for Christmas this year; we haven’t since the first year He was working at Dow Corning and everything seemed better. He’s no longer there (downsized), but He’s in a good job so I hope- our son is 16 this year. The friend that’s been on my mind is Canadian Steve. The NAMES quilt being in town on Monday brought up thoughts of him; sadly I was too sick to go. I met Canadian Steve at the GLBT youth group I went to. I didn’t find out he was HIV+ or dead until two weeks after his funeral.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I’m glad you have someone who can be your rock during your grief.

      And it’s so terrible when you miss a grieving ritual, or the choice to go is taken out of your hands. Funerals are for the living.


  8. AFOdom says:

    Holding you and your mother in my heart. ❤

    Ana asked us to mention someone on our minds, and it took me a while to decide to be honest. It feels weird to say that *I'm* the person on my mind at the holidays, but it's the truth. I have a chronic illness that is currently in remission and has been for over a year. Prior to that, for many years, my holidays were fraught with fear and hiding that I couldn't control. BEFORE my illness, winter holidays were always my favorite time of year.

    Now that this is my 2nd holiday season in remission, and I feel the joy I used to feel so many years ago, I mourn the Solstices and Christmases and New Years celebrations that I lost to my illness. I also cherish every moment that I feel the joy of this season in a way I never did before.

    Love and hugs to everyone on this day of remembrance.


    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      Hugs, Anne. Illness takes much away from us, and it’s difficult to have no control over your body. I’m so glad you are in remission for the second year, but I can see how it would be bittersweet. I hope you can do something special this year in honor of how far you’ve come.

      (I’ll let Saranna respond to most of the posts but wanted to let you know it is absolutely okay to say yourself.)


    • Renee says:

      Anne, so glad to hear you are at a 2nd holiday in remission. I hope you enjoy his holiday season filled with the hope and joy of over a year free from the grasp of disease. Sometimes the loss of who we are is harder than losing another person. Blessings and hugs. R


    • sarannadewylde says:

      Thank you for your kind words.

      And I totally agree, it’s definitely okay to say yourself. Having gone through a pretty intense metamorphosis myself, I really do understand.

      I’m wishing you many more seasons of joy and I think you’re amazing to fight so hard as you have. That may sound strange coming from someone who doesn’t know you, but changing anything is hard, especially when you’re fighting yourself. That much I do know. I’m sending you lots of love.


  9. Leigh Smith says:

    So sorry about your loss. No matter how many Christmases go by, you will always miss her presence but she’s always with you in your heart and mind. She would want you to enjoy things and not be burdened with grief.

    Beautiful post and I wish you the best of holidays and hope you enjoy all life has to offer


  10. Renee says:

    Saranna, sorry about the loss of your mother. If you keep her alive in your memories and traditions then she will never be far from you and your family. I often think of my MIL during the holidays. When I married her son, I was not good enough for him (according to her). Then she developed Alzheimer’s (and forgot she did not like me). We took care of her for 12 years before she passed away 2 years ago. By the time she passed we were good friends and I still miss her funny little ways. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. Renee.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I didn’t take care of my bedridden MIL for that long… six years and we just put her in long term care. Her bones are so brittle and after she had a seizure which led to a fall with 3 catastrophic breaks in each leg, we just weren’t enough to give her the care she needed. Just touching her hurt her. She didn’t much care for me one way or another before we took care of her either. But now I’m one of her favorite people. She doesn’t have very long and I know it’s going to be hard to lose her too.

      Thanks for sharing your story with me. I hope your holiday is lovely.


  11. laurellasky says:

    Saranna, so sorry about your loss. I lost my mom this time of year but I try to remember the good times. Anne, I glad your in remission and hope it continues for a long time.
    At this time of year I miss my sister, Pat, she married a non Jewish man and every year they would have a big beautiful Christmas tree and a menorah. Pat was 53 and had a terminal illness, she passed away and her husband, Phil, took his own life a year before Pat died. I spend the last month with Pat and it was very painful but I wouldn’t have missed it because it was quality time with her. Her only regret was that she wouldn’t see her kids get married and have a family. I spent thanksgiving with her daughter, my niece and her family. Pat would have been so proud of Paulette and my nephew Aaron as they were both doing so well with their families. I like to think that mom and Pat are together watching us.
    Blessings to all of you.


  12. Mary M. says:

    Saranna, I love the idea of making your mom’s birthday the day you will pick out your Christmas tree. My mom is still with us, but we live in a different state, and I often think of the time I am not spending with her. My dad has been gone 10 years now but he is always popping up in my thoughts, especially his laugh and enjoyment of life. I look forward to being with my extended family this holiday and sharing memories of those who have passed, keeping them alive for the younger generation. Courage and hope to those who are dealing with loss or illness this Christmas.


  13. SH says:

    What a wonderful, strong spirit you have, Saranna, and it came across in your post so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope your Christmas is full of peace and joy and wonderful memories.


  14. nancygoldberglevine says:

    The conspiracy doesn’t want me to enter this comment–it’s the 4th time I’ve tried to post it. This is a lovely idea and Saranna, what a great post!
    This will be the first Chanukah without my dad, who passed away in March at age 94. I miss his quiet presence. Holidays and parties were lots of fun when he was around. I’m also thinking of my friend, Keith, who died of cancer in January 2013. He was so funny and nice. And talented, he painted the cover for my first ever romance novel.
    Last but not least, my husband, Jon, who died of cancer at age 46. He was tall, dark, handsome and funny and there is no one else like him. (sigh)


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I am so sorry for all of your losses. I can’t help but feel like you keep them very close and they’re still very much with you.

      I would’ve loved to have had an old-school painted romance novel cover.

      I hope that your Chanukah is warm and bright. ❤


  15. ruthshulman says:

    My mother passed away in 2007, just after her 75th birthday. Like Saranna’s mother, she was the heart of our family. These days, my siblings and I are disconnected in a way Mom would never have thought possible. So the holidays are difficult. I mourn my family.

    But in that way we humans have, I still find a lot of joy. It’s a joy for me to meet and get to know some of the people here. Finding nice little gifts for the friends I do have reminds me of what Mom taught me about giving. For the past several years, giving has extended to the animals too. Every soul has a need; every soul has something to give. That’s where the joy is, for me, acting on my mother’s lessons.

    (((hugs))) to all.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      This made me cry, too. I’m just full of the sniffs today. That’s a beautiful thought and a lovely way to honor her.

      Sometimes families just don’t fit. Sometimes the people who are our blood aren’t the ones who end up being family. My mother’s sister is still alive. We don’t have a relationship. I called to tell her my mother had passed… after finding her phone number on the ‘net and she couldn’t be bothered to call me back. She told my cousin that she didn’t care. And she doesn’t. That’s not just her way of dealing with grief, it’s who she is.



  16. Holla Dean says:

    That was a lovely post, Saranna. I’m so sorry for your loss. I feel very lucky and blessed that I’ve had so little loss in my life. At 62 years old, I still have my parents and all four of my siblings. No children have been lost by anyone in my family. The last family death was (other than distant relatives) was twenty years ago when my grandparents died. I have lost a few friends and I do miss them. But it’s my grandparents I miss the most at the holidays. They were quiet, loving, and accepting of everyone. Never a harsh word for anyone. If they didn’t have anything nice to say they kept quiet. I know it’s impossible for this lack of loss to continue for too much longer, my parents are 84 and 87, and I dread it. I can’t imagine Xmas without my mom and dad.
    I absolutely love your new tradition of picking out your tree on your mom’s birthday. It’s one of those traditions that will stick with you children when they’re all grown up with families of their own. May your Christmas be joyous and full of peace.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      That’s so wonderful. I’m so glad that you still have all of those people in your life.

      I miss my grandfather too. He was my best friend. He was the only person I ever felt like accepted me wholly, completely, and without any strings.

      I hope your Christmas is merry.


  17. ameliahfaith says:

    What a wonderful tradition Saranna!!!

    This is a hard time of the year for me. I have always hated Christmas for as long as I can remember, even as a young child. Not even presents were more than a momentary distraction. I have always just seen a falseness in it. People being good at a certain time of year because some baby thousands of years ago was born but the rest of the year you could be evil, mean and cold hearted like normal? It is too hypocritical!!! Even at 7 I could see that! Of course not believing in the Christian God and being forced to partake in Church and cultish activities did little to help.

    I am a witch now and can celebrate the gifts of the Gods and Goddesses during Solstice but still have a really hard time with everything at this time of year. I need to find a tradition to look forward to, to make me find peace for my soul and me sanity. Maybe Ana’s Advent could be one of those things.


    • ruthshulman says:

      Ameliahfaith, we are alike in this way. The thing Christmas had going for it was connecting with family and my mom was that connection. Now, when the world in our hemisphere is dark, we look for the light to return. Whether it’s literal, in that sun begins to stay longer in the sky. Or whether we see the birth of child as a symbol of the return of The Light. We look for the path out of darkness.

      Any path can be that path, if you can walk it. Ana’s Advent can be the path.

      Blessed Be!


    • sarannadewylde says:

      There was a time in my life when I felt that way as well. But I’ve come to a place where I think wherever you can find joy, goodness, kindness, and hope… however it comes into the world is fine with me.

      Brightest Blessings and Happy Solstice.


  18. pao says:

    That was a beautiful post, Saranna. Your strength shines through your words. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother but I’m glad that you’re making new memories on her birthday with your children. She will certainly live on in your heart, thoughts, actions and words… the people who make us who we are always do. I hope you get all the love and support you need this season. As for who I’m thinking of, that would be my mum. Amongst other things that are going on, we lost grandpa this week. While we don’t all celebrate Christmas, things won’t be the same without him now.

    *hugs* to everyone.


  19. Sarah Bennett says:


    Thank you for this post. It is so powerful.
    Your story about your mother is uplifting and heartwrenching all at once.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Bless you and your family this holiday and take care.


  20. Katie says:

    What a beautiful and loving tribute to your mom, Saranna! Thank you for sharing your very moving story with all of us! I know that it can’t be easy to move through the holidays without her, yet you seem to have found the strength to turn your loss into something special for both you and your family. To keep her with you through new traditions and love. That is pretty amazing. I’m very sorry for your loss, and send you big hugs.

    This post is very timely, as today is the day that I lost my younger sister- my only sister to cancer, almost a decade ago. She was in her early 40’s at the time. She was a wife and a mother, a daughter and a sister. It was the worst of times back then. I miss her. I especially miss her in the summer, because that is when we would all gather and vacation and spend time together. I also miss her at Christmastime because we used to do fun things like shake the packages to guess what was in them on Christmas Eve, decorate cookies together, bang pots and pans at midnight on New Years Eve- no matter where we were. I loved her.

    Time has helped. Mostly these days I smile and remember the fun that we had, see her in her children, and think about how proud she would be of them. I also think about how proud she would be of the rest of our sibs. How we have rallied together to help mom out, and care for our dad, who is swiftly failing from cancer, and deals with dementia as well. I often wonder what she would think, and wish she was here with us through it all. And sometimes I think that maybe she just is present somehow… Like today when something very good happened for our oldest son. When I said my “thank you’s” to God, I wondered if she didn’t have a little something to do with that on this day. I know it is a little weird, but it crossed my mind… Anyway, life goes on, and I will always love her and miss her.

    On other notes, our other son this year had a crisis and addiction. He is doing really really well and we are so proud of him. But he won’t be home for Christmas, and I miss him terribly. But he is in a good place, and he is happy and healthy, and we talk often. I am grateful. But there is still a void and there will be when our other three kids are home for the holidays. He will be missed! So I sometimes feel a little sad about that with the holidays here. But SO blessed that he has had the strength and courage to deal with his issues and that Rob and I have had the strength and courage to make good choices in helping him succeed! All that is worth celebrating. And I do love Christmas!

    To All who are missing someone this Christmas- giant hugs and warm thoughts sent your way! Saranna- thanks again for sharing. Ana- Blue Christmas is special, as is this Advent Calendar event. Thanks for all that you do for us here!

    ❤ Katie


    • sarannadewylde says:

      Happy and healthy is the best you can ask for, right? I’m so glad to hear it. All of that is definitely worth celebrating. Happy Christmas!


  21. Amy says:

    Saranna, what a beautiful post. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    I can’t thank everyone enough for this. Christmas is the hardest time of year for me. I have such conflicted feelings. I come from a mixed-faith family, so my father was never big on Christmas. I loved the lights, the decorations, the magic, but actual Christmas Day was often painful and filled with tension and family drama.

    When I became an adult, it was better. Christmas with my in-laws was outrageous and huge and really did have all the magic I’d wanted. By then, my parents had divorced, so the Christmases with my family had also become wonderful. That lasted a few years.

    Mom is gone now, going on 14 years. It doesn’t ever go away, the feeling of missing her. She’s on my mind especially at the holidays because when she found her joy, she loved this time of year. I wish she’d been able to meet her grandkids. They’d have loved her.

    It’s been very hard to admit this, but I’m working on not hiding my emotions from the world anymore. I’m also very much missing my husband’s younger brother. He passed away 7 years ago at age 27. Holidays with my in-laws haven’t been the same since. Sadly, no one really talks about him at all, so it’s always this heavy weight, the empty space where he should be. Because they are not my blood relatives, there’s always the sense that as an “outsider,” my grief—and my way of processing it—is not welcome. Funny thing is, he always treated me as though we’d grown up together, and I loved him like one of my own siblings. Since I can’t speak my grief out loud, I wrote him into a story; it’s the best I can do to honor him.

    Man, this time of year is so hard for so many of us. Gentle hugs all around.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      We have that in common–hiding emotions. It’s been a journey to let myself be vulnerable, to admit when things hurt. But it’s not terrible. I used to think that showing my pain was weakness. But it’s not. It’s found me so much support that I didn’t know what there and that I didn’t know I needed. It’s been of such comfort.

      Let me know when you publish your story. I’d love to read it.


  22. P.T. Wyant says:

    Saranna, I so remember the first Christmas without my beloved grandfather.

    No, I take that back — the one I really remember is his last one with us. He had been battling prostate cancer for over a year and the treatments had been ineffective, so we knew it would be his last one. At the last minute my mother decided to put up a Christmas tree — a real one, not an artificial one, so we set out to find one. The only thing we could find was a pine — we’d always had spruce because he hated pine trees — said they were hard to decorate with their long needles. I warned Mom when she bought the tree, but…

    We brought it into the house and set it up in its stand. My grandfather took one look at it and said, “I thought I taught you girls better than to bring home a pine tree.”


  23. sarannadewylde says:

    I wish I could have you all over for Christmas. We’d sit around and drink your Christmas drink of choice, have good food, and tell stories about those we love. There’s a camaraderie in loss, but there’s also a kinship in joy. ❤


  24. Lara Estes says:

    Saranna thank you so much for sharing. Your post is an inspiration to me for reason I will not explain here. Aside from being away anyone that I can call friends, I do miss my parents. However, every year I continue a family tradition that went on as far back as can remember. My father who make a pastry called Pasties. This some thing that he learn from his mother growing up on the iron range in northern Minnesota. This was and still a Christmas Eve tradition. In a lot of way Christmas Eve is more special then Christmas it self. My father passed away Jan 3rd of 1989. Try as I might I has yet to duplicate the wonderful flavor of those mouth watering pasties. I use all the same ingredients and I fail to match it, I have come to realize that it was his loved that made the difference. Thank all of you for sharing your stories they are all very special.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I’m always happy to have impacted someone in a positive way, so I’m glad to hear it.

      Mmm. They sound like kolaches. My grandmother used to live in Alexandria. There was one Christmas or two we spent there.


  25. pieclown says:

    Saranna, I lost my shortly after Christmas and a few days after her birthday. It has been almost 7 years since, but I still think about her. I have slowly tried to get back in to the season. Doing more and more, mostly for my son. I hope you can make this Christmas good for your girls.


    • Marybeth says:

      DL, write often. I understand your missing him. I was a Navy wife for 20 years. The long deployments were hard. I think it is little easier now because of the ease of communication now. We had telegrams and long distance collect calls. It is always hard to say goodbye.


  26. Katy Beth McKee says:

    I lost my mom in 1987 and my dad in 2000. But on my mind is a co-worker. This week her mom went from a fever to kidney shut down in just a few days. Doctor is baffled. Today they moved her to ICU. When they try dialysis her heart rate drops and fluid is building up around heart and lungs. My friend feels so helpless and is really worried. My heart is really hurting for her tonight.


  27. Shannon Love says:

    My grandmother felt more like a mom to me growing up. I was dropped off for months at a time when I was a little kid. Like, Saranna, I butted heads with her a lot growing up (my grandma was my mom). My mother wasn’t patient and I had quite a few broken teeth, black eyes and bruises. My grandmother couldn’t do anything to stop it but she taught me strength and dignity.
    I lost her on Dec. 21, 2007, just 7 days after my second miscarriage. I spent that Christmas season numb with grief. I guess I didn’t understand how the world would just continue on like normal while I was trying to process the darkest time of my life.
    Like Saranna, my grandmother told me that I’d have regrets after she was gone. Yep, there were a few arguments I could have let go. I was a dumb kid. I’m pretty sure she knew that. Once I was in my 30’s and had a career and a family of my own, she could see that I finally got my crap together.
    She thought my oldest son was the most precious thing she had ever seen. He was almost 3 when she passed but he still remembers her giving him crackers (I’m sure he felt the love pouring from her). Those must be his first memories. That makes me happy.
    It took a couple years but I’ve come around. Until recently, I have found the Christmas season to be a dark time but I now have two more kids that my grandma would have adored. I’m getting better at focusing on the best memories and lessons learned. She made sure I was made of tough stuff while still being a lady. Now I’m just thankful and I feel blessed that I was so close to her.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I think those lessons are just part of growing up. It sounds like that was a very dark time when you lost her. I hope you have a good Christmas this year and that all the joy is with you.


  28. Virginia Nelson says:

    I’ve said it before, but I’m ever awed by how brave you are with your words and how much of yourself you share with us readers.

    I’m sorry you’re hurting and I’m so glad you found a way to be close to her memory. I’m missing my Aunt Lee. I’m full of regrets and things I never got to say or do when it comes to her, but I carry her with me. I keep her memory alive by reminding folks someone great was here, even if they’re gone now.

    Your mom is lucky she chose to love that particular little girl, because your words make her immortal.



  29. Anna V Jones says:

    Thank you for sharing your mother with us. 🙂

    I always think about my great grandmothers this time of year. They loved this time of year, having all the family together and fixing food and then playing games all day. I also find myself always thinking about my twin sister daily.
    This time of year, that is so focused on family, it is hard to push the pain aside. But I try to think of the good times and cherish the memories.

    I am sorry for your loss. *hugs*


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I’m sorry for yours as well. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose that part of yourself. I’m sending you hugs and hope.


  30. catrouble says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories even though my tears rolled as I read them…can’t read everyone’s comments right now. Christmas is a hard time of year for me for many reasons…some years worse than others. I remember going through the ‘firsts’ after I lost my dad and my Matthew…even though this year is definitely not the ‘first’ for either one of them, I’m having a rougher time. Hang in there and reach out to loved ones for support. Sending lots of prayers, healing energy and positive thoughts for you.

    Hugs and Blessing…


  31. Kate Ancel says:

    Saranna,thank you for sharing your mom with us. What a remarkable woman to have made such a difference in your life and made you into the warm, caring, generous human being I know you to be. *Many hugs* . As for me, I am missing my grandmother this year. We lost her right after Thanksgiving about 6 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her sweet presence in my living life. I talk to her often and imagine her sometimes befuddled responses. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known. She taught me about acceptance and being open to new people and caring in general. She could strike up a conversation with anyone. These days I make it my mission to talk to someone new every day, even if it’s just to compliment them on what they are wearing. I’ve seen firsthand how people blossom from that. She died of Alzheimers and toward the end she would pretend to be asleep when I would visit because she didn’t know me. Damn near broke my heart. So thank you Grama. I am a better person for your having loved me and for loving you in return. I was so very blessed to have had you in my life as long as I did. And thank you Ana for your lovely idea and giving us a place to share these memories.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      That’s such a huge deal, to have someone to teach us about kindness and caring. It’s a magical gift. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so glad that you had her in your life. And thank you, Kate.


  32. Marybeth says:

    I dread the day I have to say goodbye to my mom. It was always the two of us against my dad and 5 brothers. Last year, I decided to stop getting her stuff and gave her me instead. What I mean is that I have committed to going to see my mom for the day or overnight every month. It is difficult, because it is 5 hour drive both ways. But,my mom is enjoying our time together and i like giving my brother a break from her care once a month.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      I think that is an awesome gift both for you, your mother and your brother. Having given care in home, it’s exhausting even when done with all the love in your heart.


  33. chickie says:

    Saranna, thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s so important to have new traditions and I love yours ❤ I'm coming from a bit of a different place than you are, one where I mourn the emptiness of not having tons of those warm fuzzy memories. My kids are still little and our traditions are growing each year. They're slowly filling me with joy at this time of year that I never really got too excited about before. I hope you continue your new tradition. It's so important to keep remembering but to also keep growing.


    • sarannadewylde says:

      That makes me so happy for you that you’re building your own traditions. I love your attitude and you’re just kind of a bright star. 😉


  34. minellesbreath says:

    This post touched my heart! I cried and smiled through your words of love. What made me happy is how strong your love is/was through imperfections. That is what it is all about. Making her birthday a special celebration of her remembrance is a blessing for all of you. I hope my kids do something like this when I am gone. Beautiful.
    Every year I think I have lost as much of my mother to Alzheimer’s as I can bear. Today was a very difficult day, but tomorrow will be better! You brought a little sunshine into my thoughts and I am so glad!


  35. JC says:

    What a beautiful and at the same time sad post. My heart goes out to each person who has lost someone special. I can’t imagine the terrible sadness you are going through. I think the many traditions started to remember each loved one is something to cherish. My thoughts and prayer will be with this amazing group of people this season.


  36. Kyra Tinker says:

    Hi everyone. I’m a little under the weather so can’t say to much. My
    My heart goes out to you. I know how you feel though. I know sometimes it annoys me when someone says it, but it’s true.
    My dad passed last year on December 27 th and my mom 6 months on June 23rd. This will be my first Christmas without both of my parents. I was extremely close to my mom though.
    My mom also loved Christmas so I will try again this year to keep up her tradition. It will be tough but I hope I will be strong enough to enjoy the holidays like she would want me to.



    • sarannadewylde says:

      I hope you can as well. I’m wishing you the best and brightest it can be.

      I’m faced with losing my father now, too. He told me when we were making my mother’s arrangements that he was in kidney failure, among other things. So I’m very aware of how precious each day is.


  37. Laura says:

    Saranna – thanks for sharing your story today. It’s very hard when someone we love passes away and we’re left here to carry on. I’m glad you went with your daughters and got the tree on your mom’s birthday. Bet this is the start of a new tradition in your house that your daughters will continue on with.


  38. Irishey says:

    Hugs, Saranna, and thank you for sharing your bittersweet history with your mother. Loving and being loved can be so complicated when the ugly sides of life intrude. I’m so sorry your mother’s demons caused both if you so much unhappiness. I’m also really glad to read you are choosing to remember and honor the good memories you have of her, and celebrate the spirit of the season with your family. You know why that makes me smile. I hope everyone is doing well, and send my love. 🙂

    Ana, thank you for including our dear Bas in this post. His presence always is very near to me, especially when I visit your blog, Mona Lisa’s and a few others. I miss him – a man I never met – as much as if he was my dear uncle.

    I’ll light heart candles in celebration of Bas and your special quilting granny, and will pray for your friend whose health is compromised and for Heather who just lost her mother. Christmas here. Sending hugs to you, Ana, to use whenever and wherever you need a hug. 🙂

    As for who is in my heart today, it might be easier to name who is NOT in my heart. As I read Saranna’s post, and everybody’s comments, I found myself thinking of so many family and friends. Some remain close and an active part of my life. Others remain dear to my heart, but our lives have diverged and we rarely see or communicate with each other. Still others are no longer in this world, but I carry them with me.

    I miss them, but I love to remember them. I enjoy revisiting the good times with all my peeps, no matter where they are. 🙂 Sometimes, missing them makes me tear up, wishing we could be together more often, or that they didn’t have to die. I wish I could recall more details than I do, but I do have good memories and remembered feelings of good times, and I cherish them.

    The hardest part of holidays for me is regret and sadness about times when there was strife between family members. Discord is difficult under everyday circumstances, but it feels worse during the holidays when we should be enjoying (or at least striving for) peace and goodwill. I have had my share of the heart-wrenching experiences, and still have some of those things that make it so hard to enjoy the spirit of Christmas. Yet, it is that very spirit, the reason for the season, that holds me up in the end and reminds me of how very fortunate I truly am.

    Hugs to all of you. May you find deep peace and great joy this season that helps temper your sadness, grief and regret over the loss of loved ones and unmended relationships.


  39. thelongbean says:

    It will be my mother who I will miss.
    Last year on the morning of Xmas day I recieved a call from my sister that my mother had been admitted to hospital that night, The day’s festivities were a bit muted for me until I received an update. I had to travel to the UK. This can be tricky in winter, especially if the weather is poor. I took the next available ferry and then flew to London the next morniing. Unfortunately I did not make it to her bedside in time, and even if I could have left home on the 26th, I still would not have made it.
    My only consolation is that she knew I was on the way and tried to hold on till I got there.


  40. Roz Harrison says:

    Such a beautiful post Saranna. I’m so sorry this will be your first Christmas without your Mom. I’m so glad you and your girls are going to make it a time to honour and remember her though. I think getting the tree in her birthday is a awesome new tradition too.

    I lost a friend back in September who has a twin sister. I will be thinking of her sister and family this year. I’m also preparing to say good to a beloved pet who I have been nursing through cancer, possibly before Christmas.



  41. michellewillms2013 says:

    Christmas is my favorite holiday, thanks to the love of giving my mother has instilled in me. It’s never truly complete unless she’s here, sharing the holiday with me. She now lives on the other side of the country from me and her health (and mine) continues to decline. I love her so much and miss her desperately. Though the holiday won’t be complete without her, I know that the love she’s showered me with throughout my life will allow me to make this season at least a bit glorious for my own two beautiful children.


Thank you so much for joining the discussion! Please play nicely or you may be asked to stand in the corner. ;)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s