A Christmas Colon Climax

A reminder that not everyone spends the holidays how they want


Pictured: The Carr Family courtesy of Viviana Carr

Nate Carr, Editor-in-Chief

The door’s heavy.

Even after a firm push from my hand grasping the stainless-steel door knob, I still have to push.

Have to use my shoulder to the get the thing to even budge forward.

Then I fall forward 3 feet into the doorway, almost lose my footing, almost bust my chin into the plain tile flooring.

The lights are off.

She stands at the window that makes up at least 50% of the side wall. Stands in nothing but her small light pink socks and that hospital smock all patients are forced to wear for some reason.

I don’t understand why. Does it better separate the person I know my mother is from anyone else in the hospital?

I know everyone in a hospital doesn’t want to be there, but she SHOULDN’T be there. I don’t want her here.

Not at the age of 35.

Not for something as innocent as eating peanut M&M’s.

She hears my commotion. Her right hand grasping her I.V. pole. Her left loosely hanging to her side, a plastic monitoring device of some sort around her pointer finger.

It isn’t raining but it feels like it is. On the drive over from Fort Worth to here, Denton Regional, there were clouds looming over us. Some would argue weather like this never has it’s time or place.

I disagree.

I like the rain — or more of the absence of sunshine.

Not now though.

Not now.

The combination of the grey afternoon sky and the absence of light in the room means when she turns around, I can’t even make out her face.

“Hi Baby! Merry Christmas.”

It’s like a dagger to the heart. I try avoiding the fact it’s Christmas, December 25, 6 days from the last time I saw my mother. So much has changed in just 6 days.

What started as a stomach ache became diverticulitis, which then resulted in the news my mom would need part of her colon removed.

Because of peanut M&Ms.

Peanuts that rotted in her intestines. Got stuck in the linings, the ribbed portions of her intestines. And rotted.

I hug her, trying to not catch or accidentally yank at any of the tubes and wires to monitors hanging all over her body.

She’s in pain. I can hear huffing — the sound a person makes when holding back tears.

Whether the tears are from her believing she ruined Christmas for me and my sister, Haley, or if my strong hug legitimately brings her pain, considering I’m holding onto her tighter than ever before.

I can’t tell.

Muffled partially, tears running off her cheeks, down my back, she says, “I’m sorry I ruined Christmas.”

“No. Mom, no, you-“

The same door I pushed open seconds earlier gently opens, the only sound this time coming from the latch rubbing against the metal clasp on the door frame.

My sister and my grandmother enter from the hallway, come to where me and my mom are.  Join us there.

It’s quiet. And dark. And perfect.

And for the first time, in what felt like an eternity, things feel . . .  somewhat normal.

This is how I remember my Christmas in 2016.