Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!  Read all about it!

 

  • Where is the magic?
  • Do you still feel it?
  • Did you ever feel it?

Not unlike many of you, I find that Christmas music is depressing.

I was thinking about some Christmas songs where the lyrics are “Where are you Christmas…?”

It is not Christmas per se, that she is looking for but, the innocence of the holiday. Do you remember?

I know that everyone has their own memories of the holiday; some of them are memories that many would kill for, and some of those memories are ones that people rather forget.  I have a mixed bag of memories like that.

There are memories I would just as soon as not have, and then there are a few that I would not want to lose.

There is an old Merle Haggard song that resonates with me as an adult.  ‘If we can make it through December.’

In the song, the writer laments that his little girl won’t understand why there are no Christmas gifts.  Then there is Dolly with her ‘Hard Candy Christmas’ or perhaps her ‘coat of many colors.’

The physical year-end all too often matches up with the fiscal year-end for many companies hence the end of the year layoff.  I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard of companies letting their employees go on furlough, or just laid them off this time of year.

When I was a kid, it seemed that Unions would strike this time of year, so Christmas was not only bleak but we learned to eat cheaply.   The furnace was cut back to conserve energy, so sleeping in more than pajamas was a memory I could easily forget.

Companies have no loyalty to the employee, although they might offer the impression that they do. When production slumps, there is little need for employees and that seems to happen around the end of the year.

One could preach all year long about having a rainy day fund, but the argument as to who can afford that is germane as well. Is this you?

Are you gainfully employed with a savings account, or are you barely making it paycheck to paycheck?

Speaking as someone who has been there, having anything in savings is a comfort. Knowing you can last until the demands for business return, is a comfort.  While some company’s business model is, for their employees to survive off funds from unemployment, or food stamps, during this time of low business, some only hire contract workers.

Moral of this story.  Have money put aside for Christmas.  That means all during the year set aside money in savings that does not get touched.  It is for a rainy day.

When you work for someone, you have very little control over your destiny.  Everyone would be smart to have a side hustle.  I hesitate to use that word but that is what it is.  From stores on Etsy to selling things on eBay to yes, writing books and selling them on Amazon, a side hustle can give you that little bit of comfort.  Even though the company you have slaved for is letting you fend for yourself at the moment, the world of readers appreciates what you are writing!

I knew a lady who was a photographer and sold calendars with her pictures as the main picture for each month.  I know another lady who makes purses and sells them on Etsy.  There is nothing wrong with a little side hustle.  Many have garage sales all too often, but they do it.

Christmas is not about gifts.  Yes, there is magic but I think it manifest when we find ourselves doing for others who need that little extra something, as life has kicked them around.    I don’t want to reward those who depend on that generosity.  I want to bless those who would not ask and would instead do without, then be a burden.  I love to assist those who are trying.

To me, that seems what the spirit of ‘Santa’ is all about.

I hope this Christmas finds you well, and your lives filled with love and prosperity.

Much Love -TW

 

 

Ode to mothers…. “What are you thankful for?”

 

If you still have your parents, you probably have no clue how truly blessed you are.

When we are young, our parents were rule and order, hopefully with nurturing love as their standard. As we grew and spread our wings we either flew or learned to swim.   Maybe we walked, climbed that tree, and tried to fly again; whatever your path, it was probably different than mine or your friends.

The road we choose is not always the best one.  Some of us are so ill-informed that we make foolish choices, and it takes our mothers to ask us, “What were you thinking?”

My mother has been gone for more years than I can count because someone made a very unwise decision. Living in the mountains of Arkansas, she subscribed to an air ambulance service, which was her fallback plan.

Waking up early one day with a pain she could not make go-away, she took a nitroglycerin tablet and sure enough, the pain subsided.  She was, in fact in coronary distress. Calling the appropriate numbers, a regular ambulance was at her door. They transported her down the mountain to a place where the helicopter could land.

Stabilized in the ambulance, they knew what was going on and sent her via the helicopter to the hospital.  What happened next is the absolute lamest decision that they could have made.

These people transported her to a hospital that did not have cardiac care, nor did they have a cardiologist on staff.  Why not Littlerock?  Why not anywhere else, with a cardiologist on staff?

By the time I could make it to her bedside, the ER staff decided to practice putting in a stent.  They ruptured her artery, causing multiple surgeries that all of course failed.

Outside the ICU, a cardiologist that drove in from Littlerock, after the ER doctors butchered her, told me point blank, with multiple families around… “Your mother is not going to make it!”

He might as well have hit me between the eyes with a brick, which is what it felt like.

Going into the room, she was there with more equipment hooked to her than they used to put man on the moon.

A nurse pulled me aside and told me the struggle they had trying to get her to agree to let them perform the procedure.  She wanted a cardiologist, and they assured her this was a simple everyday procedure.

She was bleeding from every possible place one could bleed, and I was assured she had multiple hemorrhages in her brain as well.

This overly sizeable rotund doctor who butchered her, was distraught when I agreed to pull her off life support.  You see, he was invested in the procedure and learning from his mistakes, and not about my mother.

Her kidneys were gone, her pulmonary system was shot, she had multiple brain bleeds, but this man wanted to see if his last surgery held.

I asked him to stop and think for a second, “What would you do if that were your mother?”

His countenance changed as what little bit of humanity he had left, resurfaced.  He was lost in the procedure.  This was his big opportunity to do a procedure that he had read about.

I have worked with some of the world’s best doctors.  The pioneers of reconstructive heart surgery, I worked with them in Houston. I knew them, and they knew me.

Here in this little backwater town in the hills of Arkansas, is where those that make the lowest grades in their classes end up, and they are still called doctor.  That, of course, is my opinion, and from talking to them, and witnessing what they did, that was the case 12 years ago.

I don’t care that your title is ‘doctor.’ What grade did you get in the classes in which you are practicing?  Were you a top performer or someone who barely scraped by.  Maybe you were one of those who found ways to game the system.

Once in Pedi Cardiology, I was working with them when they got the call that some baby had passed, the heart was viable.  You see, I have seen this behavior before.  They were gleeful as they abandoned what they were doing and headed to surgery, to harvest the heart, to practice a transplant.

What about the parents who lost their child?

I sat there and wept for the baby that passed, and for those parents who were surely distraught.

Sitting there, making the decision to allow my mother to pass, the nurse began to tell me all of the different ways we could accomplish this.  What a stupid bitch!

My heart was being ripped from my chest, and she was treating it like another god damned procedure.

The nurse attending to my mother, as well as the cardiologist,  drove in from Little Rock after these ER doctors got in way over their heads.  They were, of course, interested in me making a decision so they could get back to LittleRock.

When she drew her last breath, a tear fell on her face, as I said goodbye.  The system failed her.

The system which we all take for granted failed her.  Not an hour later, I got a phone call from this same hospital, asking me what I wanted them to do with the body.  You see, they had their jobs to do too, and all of those decisions required a credit-card, and instructions.

If you are like me; and your parents are no longer with you, there are more of us around, reach out, pray for one another or send positive thoughts or energy.  I think about all of the empty chairs at dinner tables we have at the holidays.  From parents to loved ones who died in some senseless war, or perhaps were caught in the crossfire between rival gangs.

I know many who have lost children to a drug overdose.  Do they keep their chairs at the table, or did they just stop eating at the table?

As we move into November, and you are thankful for something, I pray that your parents are some of those things that you are grateful for.

A good friend of mine chastised me tonight because I was working and sending e-mails, and she knew that I had a migraine.  Just maybe you can borrow the ‘motherly’ spirit of good friends, for an instant or two.

Go hug your mother if she is still with you.  Dad’s need hugs too, so don’t leave them out.  I don’t care if you are mad at them about something, go and hug them, and tell them you love them.  In the end, the way you feel now won’t mean a hill of beans.

I would give the world to have my mother ask me, “What are you thinking, you should be in bed!”

 

Much Love -TW