If the book is ever written, if the story is ever told, the title will be, “Christmas With Kris.” Christmas 2010 will always be remembered as one of the most meaningful, the warmest, the most troubling and poignant, painful yet so hopeful. It was also the one without any frills: no tree at home, no lights hung around the house, no hustle-bustle, and no Christmas cards stacked, signed, labeled, sealed and mailed complete with Christmas letter.
Actually, I love Christmas with all the hustle-bustle but, this year, Christmas was just Kris. It was all about her. We got a little tree and did some meager decorating around her room. Russell brought in some of Andrea’s “artwork” and some battery-powered candles, but that was the extent of it. At the RV park, we hung four red bows on the RV. There was simply no time for anything else. The presents were for Kris and we relished every moment as she opened them, albeit, with lots of help and assistance tearing Christmas wrap or opening gift bags. But she did it! The attached photo was taken Monday evening after a box arrived from her sister, Diana and family.
Special cards went to the rest of our children, of course, but I’m afraid the post office did not make a bundle off of us this year. Christmas 2010 was quiet and peaceful and sweet and, really, isn’t that how it should be?
Just a day or so after Christmas, we would have to leave to return to Florida, and that thought gnawed and tore away at my heart for days and days. Saying good-bye would be terrible! With so many prayers and God’s help, with help from George, and with Kris (in her own way) letting me know she would be okay, we left San Antonio Tuesday morning, two days after Christmas. I had spent the night with her Sunday night, and spent the day Monday until we said good night to her that evening. George joined us in the afternoon. Keeping busy all that day helped a lot but, when the time came to actually leave, there was just no way to hide the tears. She understood. I know she did.
Knowing Kris as I do, I know that she would have told me to go and do what we have to do. Even if it meant her struggle would be a little more difficult now, she would tell us to go ahead. The greatest incentive is that we are going back in a few months, and I live for that moment now. Late in the day Tuesday, I called and asked the duty nurse if she could go into Kris’s room and hold the phone next to Kris’s ear. She did and I could hear her struggling to say something in her whispered voice. Quite suddenly... she said, “Mom!” I cried! Then I told her I heard she had done well at therapy that day, and she said, “Uh huh!” When the nurse took the phone back, I asked her if she had heard what Kris said. The nurse was excited, too, and said she heard her just as plain as day! I cried!
With no incidents, praise the Lord, George and I arrived back in Sebring on Friday afternoon... New Year’s Eve day. Our travels were safe although, as we were passing through Mississippi on Interstate 10, we narrowly missed being involved when two pick-up trucks collided. One had been following too closely when the one in front slowed suddenly. Both were on the inside lane, lost control, flipped over and we narrowly missed being hit by flying debris. That was too close for comfort and we’ve decided we will not travel at night any more.
It is good to be home here in Sebring, but we have so much to do in the next few months. And, for those of you who have been wondering, daughter Stephanie went home from the hospital the day after Christmas, but neither the baby nor the kidney stone had arrived! However, she returned to the hospital the day after New Year’s day and a beautiful baby girl was born at 9:48 p.m. Sunday evening. Little Ainsley Kristine Swann weighed in at just 6 pounds 1 ounce and was 18 inches long, and she is doing wonderfully! I spoke to Stephanie this morning as she held the baby and I could hear those little cooing sounds! What a sweet New Year’s gift!!! Mother and father are deliriously happy, and we are deliriously happy for them! And, she was born a little over two hours ahead of my own birth date! Also, you will note Ainsley’s middle name. Stephanie told me she is named for her Aunt Kris out in San Antonio. I cried!
I’ll continue to send updates now and then, since I call Kris every day, and I do speak to the nurses and other members of the staff almost daily. Russell calls now and then and that helps, too. There is a long road ahead, I’m afraid, but I do trust that God has a plan for Kris to touch lives in many ways yet. Whatever He has in store, we’re there to support her and help her in any way we can. Your prayers will continue to mean so much.
A joyous and blessed New Year to you all!
Carol and George
[Well, this mama’s tears rolled as I read this email from Carol. Here’s a bright spot of encouragement, however: In 2006, the girl in this picture below looked just like Kris does now. Christy went through all the things Kris is going through, plus Christy had to deal with the loss of two children, her husband and her mother. We praise God that Kris does not have to deal with those emotions and we pray for God’s grace as Kris is absent from her family. Today, Christy is home with her oldest daughter. It took a year, but she’s been doing great. We give God all the credit for Christy’s recovery and we know God is healing Kris, also.]