Dec. 1, 2022


Every person should experience ONE CHRISTMAS----alone--- to know exactly how it feels for those who-- most-likely-- have no-other choice.There are many people without families and sometimes---without friends so----don't assume everyone will be having a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" this December 25, 2022. 

I've spent quite-a-few Christmases--- alone-- and each time feels like the first time. But, long ago, I vowed that--- Loneliness and Sadness would NEVER become my close friends---simply-because we "hang-out" together at the same time---each year.



"It was the night before Christmas, 1992, and I was alone in Atlanta, Georgia.  Two hours earlier, the florist had delivered a massive poinsettia plant dotted with more than twenty vibrant red blossoms.  Lacking a signature, the card simply read “Have a Merry Christmas.”   I stared at the magnificent gift and for one brief moment--- felt sorry for myself. 

I would be the only person on Christmas Day to enjoy the beautiful plant and------before the sadness took root--- the voice inside told me to--pick up the telephone.  When the operator came on the line, I asked her to connect me with a nursing home in my area of the city.   Patiently, she provided information for three nursing homes, mentioning that the nearest one to me was a state-supported facility.  

The receptionist who answered the phone at Sunset Assisted Living was very helpful when I asked if any resident would be alone for Christmas.  Almost immediately she responded with the name: “Miss Emma Stewart.”  She continued, telling me Miss Emma was a former school teacher with no family or relatives.  Eight years earlier, Miss Emma had checked into the nursing home when she could no longer climb the stairs in her house.  

I learned that Miss Emma never had visitors. Proper, well-spoken, and always pleasant, Miss Emma was liked by everyone at the facility but-- employees were busy and most residents were pre-occupied with their own lives.  Each year Miss Emma watched other residents display Christmas trees, enjoy visits from family members, and open Christmas presents.

I told the nursing home receptionist to expect me the next day-- Christmas Day.  I explained I would arrive later in the morning but said:  “Please don’t tell anyone I'm coming.  I want to surprise Miss Emma.”  The next day, carefully packing the large but glorious plant in the back seat of my car--- I felt happy--- like a child about to unwrap a great adventure.

The receptionist walked me down a dark hall crammed with broken pieces and parts for wheelchairs, to a room marked 113.  Stepping inside, I was surprised to see a group of people crowded-around two hospital beds on one side of the small room.  They were talking, laughing, opening presents, and enjoying a typical holiday celebration.  On the opposite wall,  in another hospital bed,  sat Miss Emma--  smiling-sweetly as she watched the Christmas activities across the room.

With the help of the receptionist,  I placed the magnificent Poinsettia on the empty table next to Miss Emma’s bed, pulled-up a small chair close by, and sat down. “Miss Emma, my name is Sally and I want to spend Christmas with you. We may be strangers but God knows and loves us both.  He arranged for the two-of- us to be together--today-- to celebrate his Birthday.”'

Miss Emma immediately took my hand and held it lovingly as we spent the afternoon talking and sharing memories.   My new friend never stopped smiling. Occasionally, she squeezed my hand or just patted it, lightly.  Eventually, family members from the other side of the room wandered over, a few at a time, to admire the Poinsettia and make small talk.  They were also interested in learning the relationship between me and Miss Emma.  Soon, word spread among the other residents and staff members and they- too came to visit Miss Emma.   Everyone was curious about her beautiful flowering plant and---her visitor. When it was time for me to leave, I took one last look around--and was touched by the number of people standing near Miss Emma’s hospital bed sharing Christmas candy, and engaging my new friend in conversation.

For the first time in eight years the former school teacher--- who never had visitors---was the center of attention.  The Poinsettia’s message card had simply-stated “Have a Merry Christmas, ” Now-- just-looking at Miss Emma's bright smile, absolutely- glowing with sheer happiness---I knew the message had accomplished it's goal for Miss Emma and--- for me, too."

Thank you, God, for speaking to my heart.


Latest comments

17.10 | 01:42

I miss being Facebook friends with you! Hope you are well and happy.

Tammy Brookover Jay

15.10 | 01:28

Love all of this. I'm so lucky to be your neighbor,

30.08 | 16:26

Sally, my friend, I love your writings and sometimes they make me cry and then smile. I love you as if I had known you all my life. God Bless you each and every day in all you do.

29.08 | 19:19

Lol, I loved reading this story! As a female that dated a couple men with Harleys, I totally understand and met Harley Guy myself, many times over!
I hope you get your 3wheels someday soon!

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