MY HOLIDAY STORY by Mary Barksdale

I grew up with large Thanksgiving and Christmas family get togethers and celebrations. So many happy childhood memories from these gatherings.

As time passed, things changed. As time passed, so did our family members. Some to death and others to the lives they were living. My adult holidays evolved into care-giver events. In the 1960s. my brother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Our holiday traditions depended on whether he was well enough to come home or whether we needed to be where he was. Later, my father's Alzheimer's disease dictated how we would celebrate the holidays.

In 2003, I got to see all three of my sons together for the first time in too many years. The eldest, being career Navy, could not get home often. Then, on January 2, 2004, my middle son, who had a serious mental illness, killed two police officers he believed were aliens.

The last few years Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with my mother, who had dementia, in her assisted living facility. She passed away in September at age 103 1/2. (She wouldn't want you to forget the 1/2.) 

On Thursday, I'll spend the first holiday, ever, all by myself.

Mary's boys: Will, Farron, and Phillip

Mary's boys: Will, Farron, and Phillip

Read Mary's October 26, 2016 post: "Losing Farron."