After that news arrived, I began calling friends to see if someone could take me to the hospital. Jeff told me not to go to the hospital but go straight to Nannee’s because she was going to need me there. So, that’s what I did.
Shortly after I arrived at the house on Union Street, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a clergyman on the doorstep, and invited him in, offering him a seat on the couch. I was about to step away to give them privacy, when he turned to me and said, “You look familiar…” “Oh, no.” Nannee shook her head. “You wouldn’t know Jodi… she’s Jewish.”
It was then quite obvious where he knew me from, as he was the pastor who declined to marry Jeff and I.
Many hours had gone by when the decision to remove Sally from life support was made. The hospital was kind and let us wait for one of Jeff’s step-brothers to return to Michigan, so all her kids could all be together in one place. To say goodbye.
I don’t remember Christmas that year. We must have gathered at Nannee’s.
I do remember the next Christmas. We’d lucked-out at Meijer, finding an artificial tree in the markdown/discontinued section and having a $20 off coupon we could use, too. We bought indoor and outdoor lights, garland and a few bulbs to supplement our Bronner’s collection.
Jeff was sitting on the floor of our new home in Adrian, piecing together the tree first. As he secured one artificial limb, another would fall off. In frustration, the man almost incapable of temper, viciously wadded up the instructions and threw them aside.
“Let me help,” I offered. “You can’t help me,” he sniffed, as a tear ran down his cheek.
“This isn’t fair” he stated bleakly. “She should be here. My mom should be here to see this.” Jeff was struggling to not only keep the tree together, but himself, as well.
I sat down on the floor with him, leaned in and held him close. We shared our tears for a while, then stepped away for a lunch break.
With his sandwich in between the plate and his mouth, Jeff suddenly stopped and looked up at me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “You don’t have to be sorry,” I immediately answered.
“I’m sorry for what I said… that I thought you’d be over it… after your Dad died.”
“You just didn’t know,” I replied. “And I’m sorry you do, now.”
Jeff’s mouth lifted in a small smile. “You’re the best wife. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”
“You didn’t get lucky,” I reminded him with a grin. “I had to use a rolling pin…”
It took all four hands, some wrangling and a bit of good-natured bickering, but we did get the tree up and decorated, and it was beautiful.
We hosted two Christmases that year, both of which meant a great deal to Jeff and I. We welcomed families and friends, shared wonderful meals, laughed a lot and soaked up christening love; all gathered around our first tree.
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:
Christmas: why trees and tinsel?
Holidays: and grief
Grinch Song: just because