My Favourite Christmas: Jessica’s Story

My name is Jessica, but I haven’t been called that in years.

My favourite Christmas took place at the strangest time of my life. I was 16 and my mom was four years into her illness. By that time she was lost within her mind more often than not and didn’t know anyone when she was with us. Up until then, I was doing my best to get by at home, but it was hard. My mom was suffering with dementia and my dad couldn’t cope without alcohol, but I always tried to see the bright side.

No matter how beaten up our tree seemed, or how many presents were missing,  I looked forward to Christmas morning because my mom would always be sitting in her chair staring at the tree, and that meant I could just sit, be with her, and remember how things used to be.

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This one particular Christmas I remember coming down the stairs and my mom was sitting in her chair.  I walked up and gave her a kiss on the cheek. I missed her, even though she was right there.  She smiled, put her hand on mine, and with a brief sense of clarity she said, “I love you, Jessie.” I’ll always remember that moment.  She hadn’t called me Jessie since I was about 5 years old.  That was my last Christmas with my mom. And my dad for that matter. A lot has changed in my life since then.

It may seem silly to go by Jessie when half of the Jessicas out there do it but it means everything to me. My mom gave me a gift that I’ll cherish forever, the name Jessie. It will forever remind me of my favourite Christmas. It was the last Christmas that we shared as a family and nothing could beat that. Things have changed a lot in my life, but thanks to YESS I still have a family around me. I’ll see my mom again one day and I will take care of her the same way that YESS took care of me.

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