Monday, December 24, 2007

Home for Christmas

Note: This blog post does not contain any snippets of humor, witty tips on writing, or tread into the paranormal world. Instead, today I will talk about something serious that is taking place in my life this holiday season.

As for most, Christmas is a special time of year for family. It’s even more so for me this year. Sure, I have two very excited children eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa come tomorrow morning. But my extended family is first and foremost on my mind this holiday season. You see, I came home for Christmas this year. Not because it’s my parents’ turn for Christmas with us (as opposed to my in-laws), but because my uncle is dying. He’s 79 years old and has been a building contractor all of his life, specializing in plaster work. They say the asbestos he inhaled day in and day out for years has finally taken its toll. As we stand around his hospital bed with my aunt, his devoted wife of 58 years, it brings back vivid memories of a similar family Christmas two years ago. That year, my family stood around another hospital bed. That time the bed was in Walter Reed Hospital and the man lying in the bed was my brother.

In December 2005, while serving in Iraq, a man in a car loaded with explosives pulled up next to my brother’s armored humvee. Manning the gun turret on top of the vehicle, he didn’t have time to maneuver the machine gun around. Instead, my brother called on his training not as a soldier, but as a police officer, and pulled his hand gun, taking aim at the driver. The man in the car panicked and prematurely detonated the car bomb. Because of my brother’s quick actions, the soldiers in his humvee and the one in front of them are alive today. He also saved countless civilians standing up ahead at the crossroads waiting to watch the soldiers pass by. In the explosion, my brother suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his arms and legs, shrapnel wounds all over his body, two blown eardrums, and his right arm was nearly severed above the wrist. There was nothing left of the bomber or his car. That year, we spent Christmas around my brother’s hospital bed, thankful that he was alive and praying that he would recover enough to live a normal life.

So this year for us Christmas isn’t all about Santa, or the decorations, or the presents under the tree. This year, Christmas is about family. This year my brother, who was nearly killed two years ago, is standing at my uncle’s deathbed, fully recovered and holding his precious 7 month old daughter in his arms. It’s a living picture of the miracle of new life, blessings received and prayers answered, and the end of a life lived well.

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.

5 comments:

  1. This brought tears to my eyes. Bless your brother and his family (my brother is in Iraq right now) and bless your uncle and your family.

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  2. Lori,I just read your post aloud to my two girls crying while I did. Your's is a beautiful tribute to both your uncle and your brother.

    I always pray for our service men and women and this post celebrates the greatest gifts of all-- life and freedom.

    Blessings to you and yours and thank you for sharing your story.

    Talia

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  3. Excellent post. Thank you. You help us remember that heroes live among us.

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  5. Lori, what a beautiful post. I'm so glad your brother is still with you all, and that your uncle was surrounded by family at the end of his life. Please thank your brother and his wife for their service and sacrifice, from my own family.

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