The first Friday of the month is celebrated in the Catholic Church as a good day to go to Mass.  There is a devotion about going to 9 consecutive services.  I have not ever done it and really do not know much about it except that it exists.  It is a way to practice faith.  In these days when the church is under such attack it seems to me important to mention this.

Today is also the anniversary of my Grandmother’s marriage to her second husband.  I am sure this day is important to many others for birthdays or other anniversaries.

Today is also the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.   I am certain many reading this know for what this day is remembered.  I was interested to note for the second year in a row that Google, who changes their logo on their website according to whim, did not acknowledge the history of this day.  The news hardly acknowledges the significance of this day anymore.  As I was looking this morning I found an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the State of Maine having their flags at half-staff by order of the Governor to remember this day.  I found this connection odd and glad there was a mention of 12/7 at all.

Pearl Harbor is a day which was supposed to live in infamy.  For some it has for others – well I am wary about what is being taught in schools.   I have been to the memorial in Pearl Harbor.  It is treated with the same reverence that one experiences when they go to the Vietnam Wall.  There is quiet everywhere and people looking silently.  Perhaps some have silent prayers in their hearts.  I know I was very emotional as I walked through the site.

I am in a melancholy mood this morning.  I get this way at some points off and on during the Christmas season each year.  While the majority of my Christmas memories are joy filled and bright not all of them fall into this category.  The melancholy comes when I think about being away from my family at this time of year.  Now I know I am too old to think that we would ‘all be nestled’ in our beds.  I do not do well with unexpected change.  Even expected change needs some easing into my life.  That is what melancholy is isn’t it – remembering changes good or bad? has it as a noun defined as a “gloomy state of  mind, especially when prolonged; depression; sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.”  The one that applies for me is the sober thoughtfulness tinged with the ‘blues’ not full-blown depression.

Death made visits to our family around this time.  My paternal Grandfather and maternal Great Grandmother passed during this time in 1960.   My first step-mother passed Dec. 3, 1971 – this time of year – after being with us for only 9 years.

This dear woman, Marie Isabelle Meyer, had a brief stop in my life while leaving a major impact on it.  When she passed away I lost a friend not just a step-mother.  And she was not even that.  The word step-mother connotes ‘wicked’ to some.  Surely can’t prove it by me or our family.  We have been blessed with three of the best moms!!!

I met Marie as a friend of my father’s.  She was a nurse and had a young daughter who was very spoiled.  Of course my sister and I were not!  As a married woman I commend the courage it must have taken to marry a man with two girls coming into their teens.  I was already 14 and my sister coming quick to it at age 11.  On top of this they chose to have another child, my brother.   Strong couple.

I have always referred to Marie as my ‘earth-mother’ mother.  So many memories……Dad traveled and his youngest boss had to take Marie to the hospital for the birth of my brother.  She would not let there be any disturbances on the weekends so Dad could relax.  She made homemade bread.  She made jams and jellies.  She volunteered with our youth group.  She helped people in town with medical needs.  She would go give people shots (insulin and such) as they were prescribed to save them having to go to the Drs. office.

She loved us as her own.  I remember the Christmas I asked for a pearl ring.  I can see her face as I am sitting here typing.  I was getting a bit disappointed as the gifts were almost all done and I did not have my ring.  She had this sweet kind patient smile and told me to look ‘in the tree’ for more gifts.  There on one branch was a small gift wrapped box I had not noticed before.   Of course my pearl solitaire ring was in there.  Sadly it has been lost.  Memories remain and create melancholy on some December days.

My first Christmas away from ‘home’ was in my own home as a newlywed.  My poor husband.  I cried so much that year as I missed my family.  While we were to be creating our own traditions I could not let go of my familiar ones.  Every single Christmas show had me in tears.  Blessedly I married a man who put up with all this emotion I was experiencing miles from my family and hometown.  It might have been easier had I been in the same state.  I was not.  I survived as did we.  Today it is even hard when our children are not with us.  I would be happy if we all lived in the same geographical area.   We do not!  Life happens.  We remain heart close not logistically close.  Thank goodness for skype!

No matter where we were I tried to find ‘family’ for us or created an extended family with whom we could celebrate the holiday.  Our “Killock Kin” were some of those beautiful people.  ‘Gramps’ and ‘Aunt Robbie’ and ‘Shirl’ (absolutely no blood relation) would come for Christmas Eve pancakes if they could.  Usually it was only ‘Aunt Robbie’ and she would bring a Beaujolais for us to drink.  It was a real treat for her as she had been introduced to it when she was an army nurse in Europe.  It was a big deal she said.  To us it was awful dry red wine.  Her company was what we liked the best!

Depression and suicide are at all time highs this time of year.  While I cannot truly understand these depths of despair, with the melancholy that touches me I can get a glimpse of the sorrow this joyous time of year can produce.  We have many military serving us away from their homes  Children who do not have parents with them at this time.  People separated by illness or circumstances.  It breaks my heart.

I have no solution.  I can only offer a smile to those I meet.  I can offer an ear to those in need of a listener.  I can send a card with a faith-filled greeting.  I can give to the angel tree at church.  I can send money to charities.  I can continue our sock project which brings me such joy.  I can pray that all that feel despair may come to know the real reason for this season.  I can keep Christ in Christmas.





  1. FIRST CHRISTMAS AWAY FROM HOME!!! I don’t think any of us will forget that. Christmas morning we kind of looked at each other ( like where is everyone else)? But I was fortunate because we were at least living in the same town with my husband’s family and we went there for Christmas dinner. Hey, we forge ahead no matter what and we are stronger for it.
    Love you, Aunt Becky

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