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As she celebrates the first Christmas after the death of her mother, Colleen Spiro shares treasured family memories of time spent together. 

Christmas was always my mother’s favorite holiday. She loved decorating her home and lighting candles. Putting up the Christmas tree was her favorite thing to do. She would leave the tree up for a long time after Christmas. One year, she decorated it for both Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day!

My mother passed away in May this year. She suddenly became seriously ill. She lived more than 1200 miles away and I was unable to get to her before she died. It was a devastating loss. She was my mom. My best friend.

I have some voicemail recordings of her that I have saved. I can hear her sing “Happy Birthday” to me. I can hear her laugh. I can hear her tell me she loves me. Even though these recordings make me cry, they also make me smile. Her voice has always been comforting.

I was never good at saying goodbye. When I moved several hundred miles away, I thought it would only be for a year. However, I met my husband here and he had young children so we couldn’t move away from them. This was 43 years ago!

My mother and I visited each other as often as we could. When she visited us, we would drive her to the airport and I would cry all the way home. My boys would comfort me and I would try to make a joke about it so they wouldn’t worry.

For her 80th birthday, my husband and I flew up to see her. We brought her to the mountains and to the seashore, her two favorite places to visit. It was a wonderful time filled with love and hugs and laughter.

We brought her to a lighthouse near the ocean, one of her favorite spots. And I can picture her there like it was yesterday. Her face all lit up like a little girl. That memory comes often. I don’t need a photo to remember it.


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It’s Christmas week. Time for love and family and prayer. And joy to the world. #catholicmom

I now have a new granddaughter who is just a couple of months old. Her middle name is Colleen. My mother would have loved that. And I know deep in my heart that Mom would want me to feel the joy of my new granddaughter. She would not want me to feel sad.

After all, it is her favorite time of the year. It’s Christmas week. Time for love and family and prayer. And joy to the world.

I may keep my Christmas tree up a little longer this year.


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Copyright 2021 Colleen Spiro
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