I’m sure some of you have contenders, but I think it will be difficult to beat the one I received last year. It was given to me by a friend of mine after a very difficult year.
The year had begun with young Daniel coming home from hospital just before Christmas. He had been diagnosed with leukemia aged twelve years. On St Stephens Day he asked to have his hair shaved off as it was shedding due to his leukemia. It never again grew back.
During the awful year that followed there were huge lows and a couple of small highs. I was in contact on a daily basis with Daniels mom. Looking back it would appear that we shared more bad news than good, as we spoke or texted each other. I was a person who preferred to cry alone, but so regular were my tears that my family got used to seeing my tear streaked face preparing meals, or sitting blogging.
I tried to function normally but phone calls would come out of the blue, slapping me back to reality. Dan was not responding, Dan had an infection, Dan was in dreadful pain, Dan was going on a ventilator.
During this time I had friends who did not know young Daniel. Yet they stood beside me, asking about Daniel, and checking I was okay. They gave me strength.
I also had a friend outside our group. A quieter friend who doesn’t drink and is not the loudest in a gathering. She has her own strong opinions, but keeps them to herself. She never follows the leader, but quietly takes her own place, and is greatly respected for it. She always remembers special occasions, and has a talent for sending a thoughtful text, at just the right moment. Someone who always has your corner. Someone I greatly value.
A few weeks before Christmas last year Daniel lost his hard fought fight. By Christmas we were all battle weary and feeling so sad. I met my ‘quieter’ friend just before Christmas, and unexpectedly she gave me a present and a card.
I took it home and on Christmas Day last year I opened it. Inside was a box labelled ‘Flower grenade’. I opened the card in which my friend explained what they were. Inside each grenade she explained, were wild flower seeds. Knowing I regularly went for a walk with Daniels mom up quiet country lanes, she suggested that I open the box and take the three grenades with me. Then where ever I choose I could throw them, with every ounce of anger in my soul. Where they landed they would ‘explode’ and the wild flower seeds would scatter and grow. Then, in time, as we would pass that spot we would see those wild flowers growing, and we could remember Daniel. He too would be part of our walk.
Her gift took my breath away. Last year I decided not to ‘deploy’ them but I think this year, come March/April it will be the perfect time for his Mom, Aunt and I to throw them, and I look forward to seeing them grow. A wonderful way of turning our anger and sadness into something positive. Come the Summer, hopefully we will have a place on our walk where Daniel will greet us, and where I will remember the most thoughtful Christmas present I ever received.
Thank you Buddy. I have tried to tell you how much your gift meant to me, maybe this says it better.