Mom the Christmas Tree

by | Jul 15, 2018


The following is a chapter from my book Blue Skyways. It’s a personal account of my mom’s slide. For those of you who are blessed to have an older person in your life, you will understand. Thanks for reading.

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Mom the Christmas Tree

She was like a Christmas tree ~ tall and full and smothered from top to bottom with lights and decorations, each one a symbol of who she was. Mom the master gardener. Mom the splendid cook. Mom the mother of six. Mom who traveled from Iran through India to escape the fall of the Shah, children in tow. The seamstress. The devourer of books. The safe harbor for Vietnamese boat people. The math whiz. The artist.

Then the lights began to go out, one by one, slowly at first, then snowballing.

Dementia.

We both laughed it off at first. She was still mostly illuminated back then. Still driving. Still taking tai chi, at age 90. Still learning French. Always learning French.

That was three years ago.

Now she mostly sits silent. She no longer reads or goes out. She watches TV but cannot tell you what she’s seen. The woman who has seen the four corners of the world remembers little, but she seems happy.

It’s as if all the lights on the tree have gone out save one ~ the brilliant angel at the top. From that one light I can still see the dim outline of our tree, still full, still alive, with its many decorations, the experiences of a lifetime, all still there, glowing like ghosts in the fading light.

Mom the Christmas tree.

Although I can barely see her anymore, I know she will light up again…in another time and place, more brilliantly than ever.

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Epilogue

Mom passed away in her sleep on Thanksgiving day, 2019, at the age of 94. She was an amazing and inspiring woman. My full eulogy to her is found in Chapter 35 of Blue Skyways, entitled “The Passing.”

Books by Brant

Newly Published!

For Christmas 2018, my brother, a pilot with American Airlines, gave me a gift that became the experience of a lifetime: 12 months of free travel anywhere American Airlines flies.

Thus began a year long journey that took me from the rocky coasts of Portugal, to the hot sands of Morocco, to the mangrove swamps of Panama, with many places beyond and between. In cheap hostels and the backwaters of the nomadic milieu, I discovered a treasure chest of colorful and fascinating people. I tell their stories and a bit of my own.

The trip became as much a spiritual and emotional journey inward as it was a literal outward one, and found me in a place those of you who are in the second half of life are likely to recognize.

With references to the philosophies of Carl Gustav Jung, Jesus, Bob Dylan, and the Buddha, Blue Skyways is an international romp by a man in his 60’s with not much more than a pack on his back, and still much to learn.

A suspense/thriller novel!

When a university student uses advanced software to analyze dreams from around the world, he discovers odd, unexplainable patterns in the data. Where one dream ends, another begins…even though the dreamers are strangers. Unique objects appear in one person’s dream and reappear in another's.

The patterns form a map pointing to an ancient, lost object, but when the student is mysteriously murdered, his deadbeat brother and estranged wife embark on an international race to recover the map's buried treasure. Along the way, the troubled couple are opposed by dark forces of the religious underworld, who launch a global pandemic to ensure the map's secret remains lost forever.

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