Jacob’s family once celebrated Christmas with all the trimmings. His Mom would have had the house decorated and the tree up by now. The smell of her Christmas baking would be wafting throughout their home from now until the big day. Presents would be wrapped and hidden in his parents’ closet ready for ‘Santa’ to put under the tree on Christmas Eve. But those days were over and he was angry.
Angry, not at his Dad for not celebrating the holidays this year, but at the driver of the car who hit his Mom in the crosswalk that day in August; angry at God for letting it happen and for not answering his many prayers.
“Jacob,” said his Dad, “We’re leaving for the hospital in a few minutes. Be ready to go in fifteen.”
Jacob wished he was old enough to stay home alone. He didn’t know why Dad kept going there. What was the point? Mom had been unable to wake up since the accident; she didn’t even know they were in the room with her. Dad tried to tell him she could hear but he didn’t believe that. She was a stranger now.
His Mom would have laughed at his stories, hugged him to say hello, goodbye and just, well, whenever he looked like he needed one. Now, he’d sit there, listening to Dad tell his Mom about his day then watch the familiar sadness come crashing in when her facial expression remained as blank as it had since August.
“Ok, Dad,” was his only reply as he put his book and toys in his backpack to take with him for the long evening ahead.