Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

As an on-call Chaplain I am called, fairly often, to the bedside of a dying patient.  What doesn’t happen very often, thankfully, is being called to the bedside of four dying patients in one evening.  But it happened recently, and I felt so bad for the families who would be spending their first Christmas without their loved ones.  And it reminded me of my own Christmas.

This will be the second year, the second Christmas, without my mom.  Sometimes I share encouraging words with a patient’s family regarding caring for themselves and for one another during what may prove to be a difficult holiday.   Sometimes I forget to heed my own advice, and as I write out my Christmas cards this year, I am suddenly hit with the sorrow of not being able to send a card to my mom.  It seems worse than last year, or perhaps I just don’t remember very clearly.

I do believe that we serve a God who is able to bring good things out of bad, and a good thing for me is that following mom’s death, dad came to live with us.  The other day dad mentioned one of my characteristics, probably my temper, and remarked that I get that particular attribute from my mom.  I agreed.  I also got my music ability and my interest in writing from her.

When I brought dad back to Virginia from what had been his and mom’s home in Alabama, I was blessed to be able to bring along some things that remind me of mom.  I know, they’re just “things,” but each of the items held a special place in mom’s heart.  There’s a little china cabinet that she received from my dad’s mom early in their marriage, and some day I will pass it down to my own daughter.  It’s really not very pretty.  It’s the sentiment that is special.

There’s the bedroom suite that I remember always being in their room.  Now it’s in dad’s room.  It’s actually quite lovely and I’d love to know the story of how they came to own it.

But, my most prized possession from mom’s house, the one that I guard most closely, is the butter churn that mom inherited when her mom passed away.  It’s plain.  It’s fairly colorless.  It’s not lovely.  And it sits in my dining room.  There’s no telling how much butter was churned for mom’s family years ago when all nine siblings were being raised on papa’s cotton farm in rural Alabama.  I actually remember trying to churn butter in that old churn.  It was hard work!

I’m reminded of the many family gatherings that took place on that farm, with multiple cousins, aunts and uncles, and acres and acres of wonderment.  We used to hike through the woods in search of the perfect Christmas tree.  On Easter the women and children would all go into the little farmhouse while the men hid the eggs in the woods.  And on the Fourth of July we’d all picnic by the creek that ran through the farm.  I vaguely remember two very elderly great aunts attempting to throw each other into the creek.

These are the memories that revisit my heart and mind this Christmas.  These are the stories that bless my heart – the memories of and about my mom, Polly Jo Butterworth Wingo, who spends her second Christmas in the presence of the Christ.

Miss you, mom.

Kim W. Chafee

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Kim Chafee

I am a lover of the God who sings! I am a Christ-follower and an ordained minister married to the other Rev. Chafee (Scott), with two grown children and a multitude of pets. And, I love chocolate. Read more about me and the reason for this blog on my ABOUT page.

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