For the first 23 years of my life, Christmas Eve was the best night of the year.
Not only could I surround myself with my loved ones, eat wonderful food and open presents, but it was my Grandma Lanagan’s birthday. The entire family would gather at grandma’s house every Dec. 24 to celebrate the holidays, her birthday, and most importantly, family.
Anyone that knew Margaret Lanagan knew how incredibly special she was. I may be a little biased, but in my opinion, she was indeed the epitome of what a grandmother should be. She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. She could light up an entire room with her smile alone. She loved to joke
around and make other people laugh. She was the glue that kept our family together.
When my grandma was diagnosed with cancer, it was as if time stood still. I have never seen someone fight so hard. Even as the cancer slowly overtook her body, she was still continuously putting her family ahead of her own needs.
As Christmas Eve drew near, our family knew things would be different this year. The chemotherapy treatments were leaving her weak, sick and exhausted. We knew that her immune system could not handle being around all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren for Christmas Eve that year, but we also knew the reality that it could be our last Christmas Eve with her.
So, on the evening of Dec. 24, 2010, all 11 of her grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren bundled up, lit candles, and walked to grandma’s back porch as a group. We all stood together as a family singing our beloved grandma Christmas carols and “Happy Birthday.” It almost felt magical as we lit up the dark night and the dark time we were going through with our candles and voices.
She came to the glass door, and gave us the biggest smile we had seen since she received her devastating news. She removed the cloth hat from her head to reveal her bald head from the chemotherapy, as tears rolled down her face. She placed her hand on the glass door and exclaimed, “They’re all mine!”
That was the last Christmas Eve we would have with her, for she passed away the following October. This will forever be my favorite Christmas memory for
seeing my grandma so happy one last time was my own Christmas miracle.