Every Christmas season, like most people, I take photographs of the Christmas tree and of everyone opening their presents. But I like to take a mental photograph as well, of the one event that defines the season for me.

Last year when we celebrated Christmas, I had just gotten out of the hospital. I didn’t have any presents for anyone, and I spoiled Christmas dinner at our kids’ house by becoming overwhelmed by the smell of some rich cheese and throwing up in the toilet, then having to be taken home.

But last year I gave my dear and patient husband the best present of all: the gift of resurrection, my own resurrection. When I was taken to the world of the dead by my Siamese cat Coe (which I’ve written about in an earlier diary), I heard a voice say to me, "You can keep going if you want to." I knew what that meant: I could make the choice to die if I wanted to.

But I decided to come back and to continue to live. I’ve had some hard times, like everyone, but in my life right now, I’m having too much fun to quit.

I told my neurologist what I heard, and he agrees with me that I probably had a choice about whether or not to die at that moment. Doctors are surprisingly interested in this sort of thing, and they’ve learned that a big part of recovery has to do with attitude, with WANTING to live.

Last year, my present to Whitley was me, but this year I was able to buy everyone presents as I do every year.

We opened our "big" presents early, and I have one special image of this Christmas that I’ll always carry with me: my daughter-in-law, who wants to be a novelist, crying when she opened her gift. All of us banded together and bought her a new lap top computer. The gift was more than a computer, however. It was an affirmation, from us to her, that we (who are already published writers) believe in her and in her talent and abilities, that we know she can do it.

That’s why she cried when she saw it: not because of computer itself, but because of the belief we all have in her.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.

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