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It was Christmas morning. A child's favorite day.
I was six, and my brother and sister, the twins, were two. Mom took us to spend Christmas with our grandparents, my favorite people in the world ever since I lived with them for awhile when the twins were first born. They were basically a second set of parents to me.
My grandmother, Meme (pronounced 'may-me'), was sick. She had been for awhile. Cancer is such a horrible, evil disease. She'd been in and out of the hospital, but all that mattered was that she was home spending Christmas with us.
She sat in her rocking chair like she always did, and watched us open all our presents. She smiled with me each time I'd run over to her and excitedly show her each new toy I opened. To a six year old, she was just Meme sitting in her chair. To Mom, to my grandfather, she was sick and weak. She saved her smiles for when I was near her, but the disappeared as soon as my back was turned.
We had our traditional Christmas dinner, but Meme didn't eat. I think she might have napped during dinner. Once dinner was over and cleaned up she told my grandfather it was time.
Time to go back to the hospital. And that's where she stayed for the remaining six months of her life.
I don't have any memories of my own from this Christmas, at only six years old. This is how it was told to me by my mother.
In a way, it is such a sad story to me. In another way, it's a reminder that no matter how bad things are, there's always a reason to smile. I'm glad I was special enough to make her smile through the cancer on her last day home.