I have a tale to tell on this moonlit winter night. It’s a true story, and it shows how connected we can be, the mysterious nature of life, and the way energy can linger. It’s about my wonderful Mom, and she has kindly given her permission for me to share the story here.
Several years ago, my Mom was in a terrible car accident, four days after Christmas. She was in intensive care for nearly two months, had many surgeries and rampant infection, and was kept in a coma for much of the first part of her hospitalization. When she recovered, she had two more months of rehab, follow-up surgery the next year, and lots of complications that she lives with to this day. She’s been called a miracle by more than a few folks, doctors included.
After she recovered, she had no memory of that year’s Christmas, which we were told is not uncommon for people who have been through a serious trauma. She and Dad went to see the movie “Cold Mountain” the night after Christmas, but she didn’t remember, and didn’t really believe us until she later found the movie ticket stub in her coat pocket. Although Mom loved coffee before her accident, she hasn’t had any since – she just doesn’t like it anymore, at all. Our theory is that, since she was on her way to work at the time and always had a travel mug of coffee along on her commute, the smell of the spilled coffee must have a strong negative association in her brain.
Mom has always loved Christmas. It’s her favorite holiday. Last week, she called me up and offered me a puzzle to figure out: since her accident, she’s noticed, there is one Christmas task that she just can’t stand. She used to love decorating her tree, but now it is something she puts off, and the feeling associated with it is one of dread and sorrow. She asked me if I had any idea why. She had also asked her sister the same question. So I started thinking about it.
The theory I came up with, upon reflection, is this: when she was in intensive care, I often did errands for Dad, who pretty much lived at the hospital during that time. After the New Year had come and gone, Dad said that he needed to take the Christmas tree out of the house, as the needles were getting really dry. He asked for help with the tree trimmings. So I went to their house, alone, to take down all the ornaments and the lights. I remember the feeling of that day. We didn’t know if Mom was going to live or not. Christmas is her holiday, and I felt I might never get to share it with her again. As I put the ornaments away, recalling past holidays, I was sad and crying. I packed them away carefully, apparently along with a large dose of my sadness. I think Mom has been sensing that energy, and picking up on those feelings. She and I have always been close, and are often on the same wavelength. Long before cell phones and caller ID, we always knew when the phone rang if the other one was the caller.
Aunt Peg, who had noticed Mom’s reluctance to decorate the tree, independently came up with the same theory, though she didn’t recall who had put the ornaments away. She just knew that Mom hadn’t done it herself, and that there was a lot of fear and sadness in the family just then.
The theory feels right to all three of us. This year, after the New Year, we’re all going to gather and joyfully put away the ornaments, infusing them with new positive memories. I’ll bring a smudge stick along, to cleanse the leftover sad energy. Isn’t it amazing how energy can linger, and how people who are connected can pick up on each others’ feelings, even many years after the event?