a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland

A light snow began to fall. She pressed her small palm against the windowpane making circular motions.

Nana had propped her comfortably up surrounded by pillows and her favorite Winnie-the-Pooh blanket. Delightful smells wafted from the kitchen. Smells of cinnamon and butter cookies and her favorite gingerbread men cookies. Katy lifted her head searching for her parents and the Christmas tree. Not strong enough to venture outside, she waited. Waited with dreams of the most spectacular Christmas tree ever.

Patrick, her baby brother, made his funny little sounds as he happily stacked blocks as he played securely in his play yard. He had no understanding of what this year had brought to his family. Shock with the news of this dreaded disease that caused his sister countless visits to the hospital. Yet, in his innocence he looked at her lovingly as she gazed out the window. Katy tired easily as she gazed out the window longing to be among the snowflakes; catching them on her tongue, feeling them on her nose. Moments of sleep came and left as visions of doctors with soft voices and kind words floated by. Treatments, pain and the loss of her curly auburn hair became commonplace. Her mother and nana tried to make it fun choosing hats and caps for her. Hushed words and heads shaking slowly seemed to be forever in the past year. Strangers stopped by with gifts of teddy bears, balloons and casseroles. She couldn't pronounce the name of the illness, but knew it was serious. It moved so a rollercoaster unable to stop.

Katy finally drifted into a deep sleep. She was walking in a forest of towering trees, snow crunching beneath her feet. Snowflakes swirled around her. Then she saw it. It stood apart from the other trees. A beautiful blue spruce! Perfect in every way. It was decorated in gold and silver ornaments that were dotted with snowflakes. Fragile ballerinas spun around in blue sparkling costumes.
Toy soldiers rat-a-tat-tated on their drums. Gingerbread men smiled merrily as they dangled from the tip of the magnificent tree. A glow surrounded the tree. Not of glass lights, from within the tree and outward. A subtle radiance.

Beneath the tree angels stood near the manger. There He was. Baby Jesus. His chubby hands raised and that dear face. He smiled looking right at Katy. "Don't be afraid, there are many friends waiting for you." He said.

She awakened just as her parents brought in the tree and set it before her. "Oh it is just as I saw it!" She said.
With eyes wide with joy she smiled. "Thank you mommy and daddy, I'm ready now." She said. Placing her head against her blanket, she closed her eyes for the last time.

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