Christmas Linda Part 3
- From Eve To Eve

Christmas Eve

It was Christmas Eve and the house was decorated for the season
A large fresh cut tree stood in the corner and perfumed the room
Adorned by a myriad of assorted baubles and lights
Christmas cards of all shapes and sizes adorned every surface
And more hung on bright red and green ribbons from the picture rails
Bright colored Christmas garlands hung gaily criss-crossing the sealing
While outside through a break in the dark clouds
A shaft of week winter sunlight shone through the window
Reflecting off the garlands and painting random patterns on the walls
I sat watching TV in my favorite armchair in the front room
Of the house I shared with my wife and soul mate Linda
The woman I loved more then life itself
Both of us had been married before but Linda was the love of my life
We had spent 30 years apart before we found each other again
When our own Christmas miracle happened 20 years ago
And we have had 20 years of incredible happiness together
We had made good use of the years we had together
To make up for the lost time we were apart
And together we had had the fullest of lives
Christmas had always had particular significance for us
It was our favorite time of year and had always been so
Our most meaningful moments together happened at Christmas time
Finding love together, losing each other, finding each other, marrying each other
That’s why I called her Christmas Linda
We did Christmas big and we relished every moment
We would pack away all the ornaments and pictures
Replacing them with festive decorations we had collected over the years
There would be a houseful on Christmas day and Boxing Day
Sharing the celebration with family and friends
Then we would fly off to the sun for a few weeks
Neither of us could abide the New Years holiday
So we took ourselves away to enjoy each others company
But this year the season held no joy for me
Even James Stewart in “It’s a wonderful life” could not lift my spirits
And the reason for my gloomy disposition
Lay in the next room, where the dining table used to stand
Where we had so many wonderful Christmas dinners
The room full of the happy chatter of good company
The table heaving under the weight of Christmas fare
But in its place now stood a stark and clinical a hospital bed
And laying upon it the most precious thing in my life, Linda
Surrounded by all the paraphernalia of terminal illness
Her once vibrant body riddled with inoperable tumors
Their evil spread consuming her from within
The cancer was to far advanced when it was discovered
And she refused what little treatment there was on offer
She also stubbornly refused to die in hospital or a hospice
Saying she wished to die in our home where she had known such happiness
How could I refuse her that simple wish?
We had a private nurse who sat with her at night and I tended her by day
And I watched her dieing by inches every single day
The cruelest punishment for being so happy
My first wife was taken by cancer
And that was hard enough to bare
It’s always so hard when someone you love suffers
But as much as I loved my first wife and as hard as it was to watch her die
It was nothing compared to the intolerable despair I felt losing Linda
She was not only my wife she was my love, my life,
My soul mate, she was the one
I would sit with her and read to her
Sometimes Dickens, Stephen King or Tom Sharpe
Depending on her frame of mind
On her brighter days she would have me tell her jokes
She always said I was the only one who could make her laugh
Her brown hair with its soft curls had long since turned silver
And the sparkle was only rarely present in her eyes
The laughter that used to play around them replaced by pain
And it was on the morning of that Christmas Eve
When she told me what she wanted for Christmas
She was always at her best in the morning
But on that morning she was having a good day
After she had eaten breakfast she asked me to pass her jewelry box
It was the very first Christmas gift I gave her
She often told me it was her most precious possession, after me
As I handed it to her she smiled and just for a second
There was a glimpse of her loveliness shinning through the pain
She patted the bed and bad me sit next to her
I sat on the bed next to her and she took my hand
“I have to say this to you today because I’m having a good day and
I don’t know how many good days I’ve got left”
I protested that she was being silly, she squeezed my hand
Then gave me a look which said that I knew she wasn’t
She opened her jewelry box and from a draw within
Took out a neatly folded handkerchief which she carefully unfolded
And inside were a dozen capsules containing her medication
She looked at me with her soulful eyes pleading with me
As the realization of what she was asking sank in I shook my head
On her good days she had salted away some of her medication
Until she now had enough to hasten the end
She squeezed my hand again and said “Please do this for me”
She didn’t want me to do it there and then
She just wanted me to agree to do it when the time came
But the time would be very soon
“It’s the only gift you can give me this Christmas”
She looked in to my eyes and said
“I love you more than anything in the world
And I know with all my heart that you love me”
I could say nothing as tears welled up in my eyes
“Please do this thing for me” she pleaded
My heart was breaking at the choice I must make
Let her suffer or end her suffering and kill her
I said “I just can’t do it” and I got up and left the room
She didn’t call after me she knew I would be back
With tears streaming down my face I grabbed my coat
And went out the door and went for a walk
The day was cold, grey and damp
And clouds scudded across the December sky
Any hint of the promised sunny intervals was not in evidence
It was the kind of day that chilled you to the bone
But I didn’t feel it at all I just felt numb
You had to be alive to feel the cold and I was dieing inside
I walked for miles under the grey skies
Along the woodland paths we used to walk together
My mind in turmoil my eyes red with tears
If I did what she wanted I would lose her forever
The loss of her would be devastating
But not to let her go would just be selfish
My head was spinning I didn’t know which way to turn
Images of the happy moments together swam in and out of focus
Then as I walked into a clearing in the woods
Where once we had made love on a sultry afternoon
There was a sudden break in the clouds
And the woods were bathed in winter sunshine
And all at once I knew what I must do
When I returned to the house I went straight to her bedside
She was sleeping; so I sat on the chair beside her bed
And rested my head on the bed beside her
Then I felt her hand gently stroking my hair
I sat up and her hand moved to my cheek
I took it in my own and kissed it softly and said
“I’ll do what ever you want me to do”

New Years Eve

Christmas had past and I was glad of it
It was without doubt the worst Christmas of my life
Full of tears and sadness instead of happiness and laughter
There was no wondrous Christmas feast
No table laden with Christmas delights
No hearty laughter or light hearted banter
Just an endless stream of visitors, friends and family
As cheery as was possible, putting on a brave face
All coming with forced smiles to bring the seasons greetings
But all leaving with tears knowing she would not see the spring
I know I sound ungrateful and I’m not really
But every visit ate into the precious time Linda and I had left
I knew how important it was to Linda to see everyone
Even the doctor called in to make sure she was comfortable
And in between visits I would sit watching the needles dropping from the tree
As if each dropping needle symbolized Linda’s plight
And as I sat alone in my favorite armchair on New Years Eve
Staring at the pine needles scattered beneath the tree
I tried to come to terms with the fact that Linda would die with the old year
Since Christmas Eve when she made her request
Linda had been in good spirits
She had seen everyone in the world that mattered to her
And said all the things she needed to say
So Linda had decided that morning that enough was enough
I tried to remain cheerful for her but she could see through it
“I know you’re hurting too” she said the pain etched in her face
And with that we made our plans for our last day together
I phoned the nurse telling her she should have the night off
To enjoy the celebrations with her family
She was very grateful and accepted my explanation without question
I filled the room with lighted candles and in the flickering light
Linda and I spent the evening together looking at photographs
And reliving the great times of our life together
We played the music that formed the soundtrack of our lives
Then an hour before midnight she handed me the folded handkerchief
I opened it and inside were now close to twenty capsules
One by one I broke them open emptying the contents into a wine glass
I filled the glass with Port and gave it a stir
And I put the glass on the bedside table before sitting on the bed
Then I took her hand and kissed it and lent forward and kissed her mouth
I started to say good bye but she put her hand to my mouth
Then I reached over and picked up the glass
And held it up to her lips and she took a drink
Then a little more and a little more until the glass was empty
I wiped her mouth with the hanky and she burped
And she laughed that wonderful laugh
The candles sputtered and the flames flickered
Then she said “I love you so very much” squeezing my hand
“I love you too” I said as I sat holding her hand in mine
And then we just sat in silence looking at each other until her eyes closed
The Village clock began chiming the hour
Her hand went limp and her breathing became shallow
And then all the pain in her face was suddenly gone
The clock chimed twelve marking the passing of the old year
And also unknowingly marked Linda’s passing
I don’t know how long I sat there holding her dead hand
With the tears streaming down my face
But as I sat there I knew what had to be done
I poured myself a large whisky and sat in my favorite armchair
Where I wrote a long letter explaining what I had done
And what I was about to do
With the letter written I put it into an envelope
And placed it on the mantelpiece where it would be easily found
Then I drank my whisky and reached into my pocket
And removed the contents placing them on my lap
Then I filled the syringe with the insulin I had stolen from the doctor’s bag
And injected myself with the full syringe
And as my eyes grew heavy I could feel Linda’s hand on my shoulder
And felt her fingers in my hair as I drifted into a coma
And she whispered “I love you” in my ear as my eyes closed
When my eyes opened again I couldn’t believe what I saw
It was a place that was familiar to me and it was snowing
And the street was full of happy smiling people
And there amongst them was Linda larger than life, vivacious and self assured
Covered with snowflakes and laughing
My snow angel, my Christmas Linda
With snow covering her like sugar on a doughnut
Wrapped up against the cold in a woolen hat and coat
And a long knitted scarf draped about her neck
She shook her head and her light brown hair danced about her shoulders
And the snowflakes fell away from her soft curls
Only to be replaced by fresh ones
There was a rosy redness on her cheeks and she was young again
We were both young again and we had gone back 50 years
She threw herself at me and hugged me tightly
I smelled her hair as I held her and was intoxicated by her scent
We were stood at the taxi stand and snow fell onto Linda’s soft curls
We took our place in the queue and we kissed
All too soon a taxi arrived but this time we both got in
And through the winter wonderland we departed this time never to be apart again

If you're keeping up with the Linda saga, you need to wind the clock foraward another 20 years, to find the couple who first met 50 years previously have found lasting happiness in what was, for each of them, a second marriage.


Love Poems for Special Occasions


Love Poems for Christmas

Copyright © Paul Curtis. All Rights Reserved

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