Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas Eve Day

The sun is still below the horizon as I come to work on Christmas Eve day. A tree shines in the dark dining room as our patients on this unit get ready for breakfast. In spite of festive decorations there is no disguising the fact that this is a hospital.

A lady clutches a teddy bear given to her by a volunteer earlier in the month and asks me where she is and what she is supposed to do. I take her by the hand and we walk to breakfast.

Later in the morning another lady asks me for a cup of tea. This is a special day so I pour her tea in a nice mug rather than a styrofoam cup. A well worn seasonal sweater envelops her thin arms and I ask her about Christmases past. "Christmas makes me so sad," she says. "My daughter died on Christmas Day." I steer the conversation to a less distressing topic and she tells me about her childhood in England. There are people who care about her and she looks forward to visitors later in the day.

I arrange for the delivery of a new walker for another patient who will be leaving soon for a nursing home. She tries out her new wheels, a gift in part from our provincial health care plan. A child somewhere will get a bicycle or toy car tonight. Is is just as exciting to get a wheeled walker for Christmas?

Last week another lady came to my 4th floor office door with a card and gift. Five years and another employer ago I had treated her husband in the final months of his life. I used to sit in their kitchen and have a cup of King Cole tea, a favourite of Canadians from the East Coast. This lady is now in a wheelchair herself, yet she found out where I was and made the effort to bring me two boxes of tea after all these years. We chatted about her husband and how things have changed in her life. She told me she was going to walk again, and I gave her a hug and wished her a Merry Christmas. A lady who has suffered much gave me the best Christmas memory this year.

After work I went for a walk along a nearby creek and watched the birds puffed up in the cold as they chirped in the bushes. I am grateful for the abundance of life and the joy of sharing with others in need.

 I want to wish a special Merry Christmas to those who have suffered loss
 and to those who work these holidays to protect and serve those in need.

To friends and family, those far and near, I wish you a blessed Christmas Day.


  1. Ruth--you have captured the true essence of Christmas--caring, giving people the gift of time, taking a moment to connect.
    Thank you for giving us the gift of sharing your day.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  2. What a poignant post, Ruth. A blessed Christmas to you and yours!

  3. Merry Christmas Ruth! Such touching stories! I love that first shot!

  4. What a touching post, Ruth. You spread joy and comfort to those in your care.

    I enjoyed your photos, so carefully taken to respect privacy and thoughtfully chosen to capture the spirit of Christmas.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  5. Very touching. Thanks for calling it Christmas Eve Day. We think alike in that regard. :)

  6. I'm late reading this, but was so moved by your special day Ruth. Here's hoping the New Year brings you even more joy.

  7. Christmas can be a sad time for some. My mom might have celebrated her last Christmas if we believe what the doctors say but ultimately it's in God's hands.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  8. I drink King Cole tea. It is the best.. How touching is this gift of tea thank you for sharing this gifting. My grandchildren trimmed our Christmas tree for us this Chrismas. sgrf 5 and 7. They did a wonderful job. All the best to you and yours in 2013.


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