The worst best Christmas ever!

Christmas 2010 went down in history as the worst best Christmas ever for me. Adam had finally finished chemotherapy and radiation 10 days before Christmas Eve. He was still feeling lousy and not eating, except through his PEG tube. I was looking forward to something normal for a change. I was looking forward to time with our families to uplift us as we were coming out of treatment. His treatments meant driving to Emory every week day for radaiation treatments and once a week for chemo for 6 weeks. Often times things would be running behind and we had to rely on family and friends to pick the kids up from school. On December 22, Jacob was diagnosed with the flu. Tyler followed within 12 hours and Avery on December 23. We went on a the search for tamiflu, which was hard to find at that time. We paid a small fortune for it. I of course was in a panic, because Adam could not get the flu!!! His body could not handle that. His immunities were at rock bottom. There was no way he could fight it. Thanks be to God, our friend who is a pharmacist, showed up at my front door with tamiflu for both Adam and I, to keep us from getting it too. Tamiflu for children has the unlikely side effect of vomiting. Jake and Ty both had said side effect!!!! So on top of feeling lousy from the aches, pains and fever, those 2 spent all day Christmas Eve throwing up. Tyler didn’t sleep much that night and vomited approximately every hour on the hour, I was up with him. Christmas morning came and it was the most beautiful white Christmas I had ever seen. The first for all 3 kids. It is something we all dream of. I love snow!  But this added one more layer of insult to injury. We were out of all Christmas plans with our families. No Christmas Eve with my family. No fun dinner and reading of the Christmas story. No present exhchange with the cousins.  No family fun. No Christmas Day dinner with Adams family.  No fun with them either, no sharing with the cousins all the fun gifts they had all received.  So a house full of sick people, snow preventing anyone from seeing anyone. (We live in the south…everything shuts down when it snows and we had a good amount.)   It was only a matter of time until I completlty lost it.  Tyler was fighting the to take his medicine, which was unusual, all 3 of my kids were usually very cooperative with medicine. I finally got in in him, liquid Tamiflu, he promptly turned around and projectile vomited all over the carpet in the living room.  I literally wailed, burst into tears, ran to my room, threw myself on our bed and sobbed!  Guttural, from the deepest part of me sobbing.  I was at the end of my rope. I felt like my whole world was spinning completely out of control.  Bless Adams sweet and tender heart, he came to check on me and I asked him to leave me alone and made him promise not to attempt to clean up the vomit, because he had no business being near all of that. I told him I just needed a minute. (Well several) I was in mourning. I was mourning the cancer and treatments that were taking my husband from me. I was mourning the illness of 3 babies who were miserable. I was mourning missing Christmas with our families.

Eventually I dried my eyes. Cleaned up the vomit. Tasted the medicine to determine how it could be so horrible, it literally tasted like earwax!  I wanted to vomit too!  I made the decision to immediately stop the Tamiflu. It was not worth the vomit! I had to make the best of what we had. So we built a fire. Watched Christmas movies and all snuggled up together. I made our traditional Christmas breakfast. Ty didn’t eat it until 3 pm, when he finally felt well enough to open presents. We played with new toys. Took naps, enjoyed a Christmas Day in our PJ’s. My amazing brother in law showed up with a turkey so we had dinner! I may have been the only one excited about the food, but it was the best bird I have ever eaten!  We survived it!  The kids felt better. I dressed them and sent them out into the snow to try and freeze out all the germs! They didn’t last long, but got to play in it. Little did I know that would be our last Christmas together as a family. God had a plan. He wanted us to be just us for one last Christmas. He wanted that memory to carry into the future. It is still hard to think about. It is still a painful memory. It still makes me sad that he wasn’t there the next year to celebrate with us.  But it is something I am forever grateful for. Uninterrupted family time. We had to stop and just be together. God was there with us that Christmas, I just had to look for the good instead of the bad. I will always cherish that Christmas, but it still was the worst best Christmas!  No one should be sick at Christmas. Cancer sucks.

This is my final post for November. It was a tough one to share. But I encourage all of you to find something to be thankful for everyday. As we move into the Christmas season I challenge you to continue to find joy in the daily, in the trials and in each moment. Reach out to someone who may be struggling. Do something for someone in need. Help make Christmas magical for someone that can’t do it on their own. Donate your time or money if you can. Pray for those that are suffering. Pray for families who are entering this season without a loved one, who has been lost or is estranged. Love one another. Be present. Be a gift. God bless you and yours this Christmas season. I am thankful for everyone that has followed me on this journey for the month of November. I will continue to blog, but not daily. God has placed this desire in my heart and I will continue on His path for me.

John 13:34 “A new command I give to you: Love one another. I as I have loved you, so you must love one another.


By Laurel Austin Henson

Laurel spent 8 months caring for her first husband after being diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He passed away at 33, leaving behind a daughter of 7 and 5 year old twin boys. After sowing millions of tears, Laurel sought out God daily and began to plan for a life of being a single mother, but ready to raise their children in faith, hope and love. God gave her more than she could have ever imagined when she brought Matt into her life, along with his 2 children. He was recently divorced and the providence of God had been leading up to this life for more than 20 years! Now Laurel is reaping joy with Matt and their 5 beautiful children. Thanks be to God for all the beauty created from the ashes of death and divorce.

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