The best Christmas Present, ever!

I wrote about my biological father a few months ago when Robin Williams died, I realized that the two beautiful fathers I’ve had in my life might just be the most difficult thing for me to write about, I might have to revisit this in the new year and use it as a growing exercise, but then I might not! Some wounds are better left to heal on their own.


Reading this I’m thinking this really isn’t the way I want to start my post on Christmas day but it is fitting of my pop so I’ll leave it. I received a letter from him in November thanking me for his birthday card, and a very convoluted letter that delved into the wanderings of his mind. It left me sad and tired, but, toward the end he referenced this year he would be sending out family keepsakes for Christmas instead of his normal “care package”. I had dismissed this until a package arrived from him on Sunday. After opening the box and reading the annual family letter – I forgot how many cats they own. I got to my gifts – I have to pause here for a second and mention that yes there were only gifts for me, sadly I don’t think my daughters or husband thought that was strange or hurtful, and until this moment of writing I didn’t either. Bear with me this does get better I promise!

I opened the top package knowing they were both books – not a huge leap in my family – we love our books and love to pass them around – I was greeted with my grandmothers bible. I knew immediately that’s what it was, with memories rushing back to it sitting on her nightstand along with the Portals of Prayer, or in the backseat of her old SAAB as we drove to church, bible class, women’s league…..take your choice, it was there. I was ecstatic, a tangible piece of my grandmother in the highest form – something I have not had the opportunity to have before this day. Then I opened the cover……

Sorry one more pause, when I was 16 my grandmother was diagnosed with a large tumor that had wrapped itself around the base of her brain, and spinal cord. She was told she would not live long if she didn’t have surgery but if she did, she probably wouldn’t survive it either. She opted for the surgery figuring her chances might be a little better and promptly went into reminder mode where she wrote notes on post-its on everything, in the kitchen behind the coffee mugs, on the silver, in her jewelry box, either as reminders to us or to herself – I’m still not sure. She did make it out of the surgery but she was changed and although she lived for another 15 years she was never the same woman.

On the inside of the cover a yellow lined post-it had been taped, the first words were “Sarah Louise, I thought you would like to use my bible…….I broke down. A note written just for me, in her handwriting, it was too much for me. I remember being loved and special, but I’ve spent so many years being indirectly told by others that I didn’t really mean all that much to her or my grandpa. I had started to believe that I was just another thing for them to take care of on and of as my pop went though his weird stages of a drunk. But here it was, something she wanted ME to have, something she used and loved and referred to, she thought that I should be the one to have it over all of the other kids and grandkids – me……..

I have placed this beautiful, rather ordinary and nondescript bible on my own nightstand. It is the highest place of rank in my house for practical items, along with my calendar, phone, etc. If your paper makes it to my nightstand its a big deal – one way or another. I plan on using it this next year as I go through my morning bible studies/meditation, and read the comments she left in the margins as she read and studied herself.

Her note is still taped on the inside, I’ve read it over and over, and the references she left for me. I don’t know if pop knew himself how much this gift means to me but it truly is the best Christmas present I’ve ever received.

Merry Christmas to you all!


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