Hannah carefully brought out the boxes that she’d stowed away only eleven months ago. But it seemed much longer. Gene had slid further into his own world.
She had watched it as if little pieces of their lives disappeared a week at a time. Yes, it had been a very long eleven months.
Gene sat in the recliner staring out the window as he did for hours at a time. She gingerly unwrapped the decades-old glass ornaments and placed them carefully on each branch. All that could be heard was the crinkling of tissue paper.
Hannah found the Christmas music in another box, and soon the small living room was bathed in twinkling lights and the sound of soft carols. Gene continued to stare out the window. What was he thinking?
After Hannah put the boxes away, she returned to find Gene standing before the tree. He lightly touched the ornaments, one by one. Almost as if he remembered….
Then he turned to Hannah and spoke the first real words he’d said aloud in months, “It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas.”
“Yes, it’s Christmas, Gene.” Hannah walked to his side.
Together they stood and admired the stately tree that held the ornaments collected over their lifetime together. One by one, Gene fingered them again, as if remembering earlier times.
If only he remembered her, Hannah sighed.
And then, as if he knew her thoughts, Gene turned and looked directly into her eyes, and said, “Merry Christmas, Hannah.”
It would be their final Christmas, but she’d gotten a treasured gift—to hear her name spoken by the man she loved—one last time.