December 25, 2009

I had one of the moments the other day that Chole would call “serendipity”.  It happened at the annual EPU Children’s Christmas Party.  As usual a few Kiwanis buddies and I had the pleasure of being Santa Claus for a few hours.  The party is so big it takes four Santa’s to take care of the photo op with Santa at the festivities.  Over 500 children were photographed with Santa that day.

Going to EPU is always bitter sweet.  Chole’s presence for me still permeates the building and program.  I may be a bit prejudice but I felt her throughout the day.  I see her in so many ways that are really impossible to innumerate.  From the children’s faces and all the familiar and wonderful staff, to walking by her office without a name plate.  By the way, her name plate was framed and given to me by 2 former EPU babies now in their 20’s, Tasha and Nick.  They are both members of the Aktion Club I help advise.  As I say it is an emotional rollercoaster.

But I digress, my Santa duties started after lunch and when I assumed Santa’s rocking chair I looked to my side and there was a young man I recognized named Jordan.  Jordan, if my memory is correct was the first baby assigned to Chole’s caseload at EPU.  He was weeks old and was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome.  Chole did one of my very favorite paintings of Jordan and his brother both with beautiful red hair.  The painting still hangs at EPU.  Jordan is now 18-years-old and tells me he recently graduated from High School and is starting a program at Fresno City College. Jordan stayed with me the whole afternoon as Santa’s special Elf helper.  He passed out a toy and candy cane to each child photographed with Santa.  No child left the room without their goodies, even if Jordan had to chase them down the hall.  I remember Chole doing the same things enjoying every moment of seeing the babies photographed with Santa.  Helping every child and family get a special holiday memory gave her great pleasure.  I saw the same look in Jordan’s eyes as well.

Also next to me was a fully decorated Christmas Tree.  As you recall last week I emailed some of you about a bag in Chole’s art room that I finally got around to unpacking.  It was the bag Chole would take to her Chemo sessions.  One of the items in the bag was a tin antique White Dove Christmas ornament.  The Dove was tied to a remembrance sent to us by Mary-Allen a few days earlier.  As I was looking at the tree and enjoying the decorations, right next to me decorating the tree were several of the exact same tin, antique White Dove ornaments that Chole had in her bag. She had obviously “borrowed” one of the decorations.  She used the Dove as a focal point as she dealt with the issues of taking the Chemo.  It was obviously very special to her.  

Chole I am sure would call the convergence of these several events serendipity.

After completing my Santa duties I asked permission to take one of the ornaments. I left EPU and drove to St Peter’s Cemetery and left the Dove at Chole’s Niche.  I have to believe she is comforted this evening.


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