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Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Memories with Author Cheryl Malandrinos



The Christmas of 1982 stands out in my mind. It was the worst kind of year I can imagine for a child. My mother had battled cancer for two years, but her battle was nearly over. A hospital bed had been set up in my old bedroom downstairs. She planned to die at home. But that wasn't to be. On Thanksgiving morning, Mom was rushed to the hospital in extreme pain. She would never come home again.

By the time mid-December rolled around, I swore we were cursed. A friend's fiance was killed in a car accident on the 3rd. My aunt, my mother's older sister, died unexpectedly of a stroke on December 12th. Mom was getting worse and had slipped into a coma. The rest of us played a dreadful waiting game. My dad working and spending all his down time at the hospital. Me and my middle sister trying to concentrate on school. My oldest sister, who was married by this time, trying to cope with being pregnant with her second child and taking care of her younger siblings. As you can imagine, there wasn't a lot of Christmas spirit.

Mom died on December 18th and we buried her just four days before Christmas. I don't think anyone expected presents that year. I doubted Dad had even had time to shop with all that was going on. Imagine my surprise when there were a few gifts under the tree. And included in one of each of our gifts was a note from Dad. I don't know what my sisters' notes said, but mine told me that the reason he bought me that particular gift was because it was the one thing Mom had told him to be sure to buy. She said I would need it, because I was growing up.

My father has never been a man of many words. Since my mother was home full-time until I was 10, he worked a lot of hours to make ends meet. When Mom died, I felt I was left to live with a stranger. But that Christmas morning, when I opened a gift he made sure to buy just for me, including the only note he has written to me in 44 years, I felt we could make it through the pain and the suffering, and that maybe, one day, the sun would shine again.

Thanks Dad!




Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married. Visit her online at http://ccmalandrinos.com

16 comments:

Kai Strand said...

What a touching story, Cheryl! It is a wonderful illustration of the strength of the human spirit. Even inside all of that pain, you were able to extract a memory that made you happy. Thanks for sharing.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Kai said it all.

Cheryl said...

Thanks ladies. I appreciate you stopping by.

T. Forehand said...

Great post, Cheryl. A wonderful testament to the love of a parent and the strength of a family to get through life's challenges. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy Stewart said...

This is such a touching post, Cheryl. It shows great empathy for your dad and such growth for you as a child. Thank you for sharing it with us, especially at this time of year.

Lynda S Burch said...

Tears couldn't help falling as I read your story. Thank you for sharing, Cheryl.

Cheryl said...

Aw, thanks everyone. I'm glad the story touched your heart.

Mayra Calvani said...

Dear Cheryl,
What a sad yet uplifting tone. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Many hugs to you in this holiday season.
Mayra

Mayra Calvani said...

I meant uplifting 'post.' :-)

Margot Finke said...

Cheryl, your post is a beautiful reminder of how something wonderful can come from so many sad and heart aching months.

Hugs to you, mate, and hold your Dad's note close forever.

Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques
http://www.margotfinke.com

Sharon Stanley said...

Thanks for sharing your touching memory Cheryl...It's those men of few words who sometimes say the most.

Cheryl said...

Thank you for stopping by, ladies. Your kind words mean so much.

Hoping everyone has a blessed holiday season.

Susan Hornbach said...

Cheryl, I have tears in my eyes. I know sometimes life is so over bearing, you do feel cursed. It's wonderful that your Dad shared his inner feelings with you on that Christmas morning. I'm sure it gave you a sense of security to know he was there emotionally for you. God Bless you for expressing such love in the midst of tragedy.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by, Susan. Praying you have a wonderful Christmas.

Susan J. Berger said...

Thank you for sharing that memory, Cheryl. Beautifully written and a touching story.

Cheryl said...

Thanks Susan. I'm glad you liked it.

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A NECKLACE FOR JIGGSY
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