Anyone who knew my mother, even casually, would never say that she was maudlin or sentimental, not one for "Kodak moments" or Hallmark Hall of Fame manufactured emotion. It was with some surprise I read the following poem---but I understand why it was special to her and why she kept it. If you can't be sentimental at Christmas, when can you?
So, Mom, thanks for putting this away for me. Thanks for being my Ghost-of-Christmas Past. Reading that little bit of doggerel has opened the flood gates of memory and I truly feel you are right here with me, giving me the stink eye for 'outing' you. I am sticking my tongue out at you (with love). Guess I should say, back at you! I miss you. Merry Christmas.
by Lois Duncan
I saw the Ghost-of-Christmas Past
Glide by our lighted tree.
Her arms were filled with dolls and toys,
And all were meant for me.
I sensed the rustle of her skirts.
Her blouse was trimmed with lace,
And when she turned to smile at me
She wore my mother's face.
Just as this vision slipped from sight
I heard my daughter call.
Wild footsteps clattered on the stair;
Shrill giggles filled the hall.
She burst into the gift-filled room
And squealed in glad surprise,
And all the Christmases-to-come
Were mirrored in her eyes.
How swiftly fly the rainbow years,
Like splintered shafts of light,
As fragile as the gentle ghosts
Who whisper in the night.
I draw my child into my arms
And hold this moment fast
Against the time my face will be
Her Ghost-of-Christmas Past.
Eleanore "Pete" Smith Rawlings, 1916-1997