I stood at the window the snow crunching at my feet and looked in to see the people eating, talking, and making merry. It was a cold night and I was alone. My stomach twisted and the hard knot made it difficult for me to decide whether to knock on the door. Twenty minutes had gone by and I stood there still frozen in spirit with the same hard knot.

Finally, I went to the door and rang the bell. The door opened and my mother stood half-stunned for a brief second and then broke into tears. We had not talked for three years over a man that she lived with after my father died. He was an alcoholic and his drinking had escalated to the point of her concealing it from me. One day we had words that neither knew would cause the worst to happen. That was three years of non-communication that wasted precious time. I was a pariah to the rest of family as my brother’s children needed a grandmother. I never held that and other complications against them.

My mother had finally had enough and let it be known through my brothers that I was welcome to be there on Christmas Eve, but I don’t think she expected me to show up. Her eyes welled tears and we embraced and she would not let go for quite sometime. I lost control as well and all of those really important reasons for not wanting to be near her, faded away to oblivion with the tears that flowed to the floor.

Three years later she died on October 1st and I often wish I had those years to do over again. I wish we hadn’t both been such proud stubborn people. I wish I had made that effort that I knew was harder for her than me. Of course we reconciled after that Christmas Eve, but the time flew by so quickly and then she was gone forever. I am haunted by those thoughts and as the holiday closes in I see the fragility of life and the merciless hand of time bearing down upon the now eleven years she has left this world.

I know the gift of time now, however late and I wouldn’t ever waste it again. I ache for those years back, but they’re long gone and mere history. Don’t be as foolish as I. Take the time and forgive and forget before it is too late. Don’t give that Ghost of Christmas Past a chance to haunt you in the future.

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