92: Christmas Comfort

92: Christmas Comfort

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Christmas Comfort

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.

~Author Unknown

My mother had passed away in October and I was bereft. Our fifteen-year-old daughter Jessica was despondent, too. Her Mimi had been her world. We had run away to out-of-town relatives for Thanksgiving, and now we faced our first Christmas without my mother. To make it more painful, Jess’s birthday was Christmas Eve. My husband suggested we escape to New York. What could be more festive than the holiday lights and Broadway shows?

We had gone to the theatre that night, had enjoyed a late supper afterward, and had returned to the hotel exhausted. Our room had a wonderfully inviting king size bed, which the three of us shared. Robert fell onto his side and was deep into dreams before Jess and I had washed our faces. I crawled into the middle with Jess to my right. She had been unusually quiet and I knew she was missing her grandmother when I heard her whisper, “Mom, would you please ‘tickle-scratch’ my back?”

“Sure, sweetheart.” My mother had been the world’s best backscratcher. She had the lightest touch and the greatest endurance anyone could ever imagine. How many nights had that gentle hand lulled me to sleep, her fingers barely sweeping over my skin from shoulder to shoulder and across my neck? Unfortunately for Jess, I had inherited neither the instinct nor the patience to do it the way Mama had done. But I would try.

Jess turned her back to me, and, as I lifted my arm toward her shoulder, the atmosphere in the room seemed to change. It became cooler — not unpleasantly so, but cooler and different. Where it had been completely dark the minute before, there was now a soft glow around us, and then, something, or someone, took my hand and guided it over and around my daughter’s back. It was as if my hand had become the object on a Ouija board. I did nothing. My delicate movements were totally involuntary and foreign to me. My own hand was weightless and tireless. I had no control over where or how to touch her — or when to stop. Eventually, my hand moved to the top of her left shoulder and patted it twice. With that, the session ended, and the darkness returned.

I brought my hand back to myself and pondered what had just transpired. A few moments later, I thought I heard Jess sniffle.

“Are you still awake, honey?”

“Uh huh. Mom, Mimi was here, wasn’t she?”

“It seemed that way. Why do you say so?”

“Somehow the room felt different, strange. And the way you scratched me felt just like her. You never have done it for so long. And then the signal that you were through.”


“You tapped me twice on the shoulder. That’s what she always did when she was finished.”

“I don’t remember her doing that. Hmm, I guess that really was Mimi letting us know she is still with us and she is okay.” With that Jess hugged me and fell fast asleep.

We could not have had a better Christmas present.

~Grace Givens

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