How Huntington’s Affects My View of Christmas
Every family, regardless of religion or background, has at least one time of year that is special to them. A time when they get together and celebrate, repeating rituals that have been passed down through the generations.
For my family, that time is Christmas. As a child, it meant going to Christmas Eve service and singing in the children’s choir. It meant waking up on Christmas Day and opening the presents that my mother had not given to me early. It meant spending time with my mother, uncles, grandmother, and grandfather.
My mom fondly recalls the Christmas she got me my Nintendo Wii. The popular game system was selling out fast and she went from store to store searching for one. When I opened it Christmas morning, she knew her hard work had paid off. Mom, my uncles, and I spent the rest of the day in a heated Wii Sports competition.
Now Christmas means waking up at 11 a.m. and spending the day with my mother, my father, and my dog. It’s a time to recharge after a long year. The Christmases of my childhood feel like they belonged to another person. Thanks to Huntington’s, my grandfather is no longer with us. The other members of my family live in different states.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas with my parents. There’s nothing I want to change about our tradition of doing nothing. But I would give anything to go back to a Christmas when my grandfather was alive, even for a brief moment. My last Christmas with him in Florida was more than 10 years ago, and I only remember bits and pieces. I want to be able to see him as I am now, and to remember what those days were like.
I worry about the day that I have that same feeling about my current Christmas traditions. With my mother’s diagnosis of Huntington’s, I know that our Christmas Days together are numbered — more so when I consider the mental decline associated with the disease. I don’t want to know what it would be like to spend Christmas without my mom.
That’s why all I want for Christmas is a cure. Maybe it won’t be this year, but I hope Santa gets it to me soon.
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