So … December is finally here.
It’s the last month of the longest year ever, as far as I’m concerned. As I write this, it’s extremely cold and gray outside. Oh, sun, where are you? Warm weather, where are you? End of the pandemic, where are you?
The holidays will be different this year. Christmas, usually a time of great joy for many families, may be less festive and quieter. Due to economic or job losses, fewer gifts may be shared. Due to the fear of spreading COVID-19, many families may not be able to spend time together in person. So, the gift of being in one another’s presences may not be shared, either.
The concept of giving and receiving gifts has shifted for me. I wanted gifts all the time when I was a kid, such as the latest shiny toy at Christmas. But now, I am less interested in receiving gifts than giving them.
During this shift, I discovered one of the best gifts to share with someone else: time.
My wife, Jill, is without question the best gift-giver I have ever known. She is brilliant at finding the right present for someone — something the person receiving it would appreciate or didn’t realize they needed until she gave it to them. That kind of thoughtfulness is one of the many qualities I love about her.
Her big heart has taught me that it is better to give than to receive. Jill invests a lot of time in searching for something special. She spends hours visiting various websites to find that one thing the other person will appreciate. She invests time in listening and observing others because people leave clues as to what they want in what they say or do. It’s not uncommon for Jill to remember something someone said or did months earlier and then to zero in on a gift based on that conversation or action.
I’m conscious of time these days because I realize Jill and my daughter, both of whom have Huntington’s disease, have less time to live. With each passing day, the disease robs them of productive time because of how adversely it affects their nervous systems and brain cells. This is especially the case for people in their 40s, like my wife. At a relatively young age, their bodies and minds will become shadows of their former selves.
Thus, I view time spent with my loved ones as a gift. Each second is precious. Although buying gifts for others is wonderful, I have grown to understand that the gift of time is an incredibly thoughtful present. The gift of self during that time together — listening, caring, sharing, smiling, being hospitable and thoughtful, saying kind words, and being empathetic — is where the rubber truly meets the road.
So, with the holidays coming up, I look forward to the time that my wife, daughter, and I will spend together. We are lucky it will be in person. For those who can’t spend time with their loved ones in person, know that any time spent together, whether it’s via Zoom or a phone call, is still a marvelous gift.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.
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