The Gift Of Christmas

Each year I recall a poignant memory when Christmas draws near.
Being at a hospital for surgery is key to this memory that I hold dear.
Late January years ago my daughter had corrective surgery on her big toe.
In the waiting room it was the family of one man that overfilled it so.
The outcome from a dangerous operation on his brain was due soon.
Worry hung over that family group like the proverbial black cloud in a cartoon.
My wife and I could not help but overhear their conversation.
"Daddy sure enjoyed Christmas this year; he was so happy, so full of animation."
His wife said simply "Your daddy wanted Christmas joyous for all to remember."
The surgeon appeared, and as he talked I watched the face of each family member.
Suddenly screams of anguish arose, accompanied by much weeping.
The oldest son led his mother away, she her composure regally keeping.
The news had been the worst; the man had died on the surgical table.
One daughter said hotly "Maybe the surgeons would have been able
To safely remove the tumor back in December. Mother should
Have insisted upon the operation back then!" The oldest daughter stood
Telling the group "Daddy knew his tumor was too large, the outcome
Would likely be this dismal. He and Mother did argue over it some,
But Daddy insisted we all should have one last happy Christmas together.
You all saw how he did relish this one so; he knew he'd never see another.
He refused a December operation, saying he would never allow
The anniversary of his death to dampen all future Christmases somehow.
Better for him to die in January! Keeping our Christmas happy
Was Daddy's last gift that he insisted he be allowed to give his family."

Harry Edward Gilleland      12.11.01    printer friendly