A Christmas Fortune
I believe in fortune cookies.
It was a week before Christmas. My parents and I went out for Chinese food at Mandarin of Danvers. At the end of our meal the waiter brought out the traditional fortune cookies and sliced pineapple. I snatched a cookie from the bunch and cracked it open to find my fortune inside. It read, “A family reunion in the near future will be a tremendous success”. I couldn’t have been more thrilled! Christmas was just a week away and that year my family was having all of our relatives at our house. We hadn’t seen each other for over two years and I knew this Christmas was going to be perfect!
On December 23, everyone arrived from their various locations. It was a day occupied with hugs, kisses, and catching up. Everyone was in good spirits chatting away as the festive Christmas music whispered behind each story.
For Christmas Eve, my whole family got dazzled in their Christmas attire to attend my great aunts annual Christmas Party. Over eighty people accumulated in her Victoria Arlington home to hear Santa Clause read T’was the Night before Christmas, and to receive everyone their first Christmas gift. It was an incredible night bursting with Christmas cheer through song, stories, and smiles.
The next morning the chain of awaking sprung into action by my younger cousin. By ten o’clock everyone was gathered in my living room with brand new presents in their laps. The entire day consisted of delicious food and playing with one an others gifts. In the midst of all the excitement my uncles girlfriend, Dale, felt ill and was spending her Christmas in my guest room. She proclaimed over and over “Don’t worry about me it’s just the flu”. Her reassuring words allowed us to continue with our celebration.
By the end of the night Dale had yet to get better, and everyone had gotten uninterested in their new toys. It wasn’t much past eleven on Christmas Day when Dale could not bare the pain any longer and my uncle decided to rush her to the Emergency Room. A heavy snow storm prevented my uncle from seeing street signs and gaining control over the slippery road. He was stranded alone on the side of the highway with his only hope to call 9-1-1. He sat watching his girlfriend deteriorate quickly as a minute seemed an hour until the ambulance arrived.
Dale died at three o’clock the next morning.
I awoke to my mothers’ gentle shake and shocking words “Allie, Dale died last night”. I walked out of my bedroom to the kitchen where I saw each family member in sobs holding one another for a shoulder to cry on. We awaited the doctors’ phone call to declare the cause of death. By noon the conformation came that Dale had died of bacteria meningitis, a highly contagious virus.
At this moment our family knew we had to come together in order to get through this difficult time. My mother and grandmother were the chefs of the kitchen putting together anything they could in order to please every hunger. My aunt handled the doctors, learning various important facts of the disease and precautions our family had to take in order to prevent it ourselves. My uncle, father, and grandfather, occupied the children with games and movies. My other uncle, although extremely upset, stood strong in order to call Dale’s family and tell them the devastating news.
On that day, my family formed a unit. Each member had a role and played it perfectly. We were a support system that could not be broken.
My family has become closer through this experience. Each of us knows that if there is ever a problem we will be there to help one an other through. We grew closer together and were able to recognize each others strengths and true beauty. I am proud to be a member of my family, each of them a success in my eyes.
My fortune cookie called my family reunion a success, and while some may disagree; I believe it to be correct. Success allows us to compliment the positive events that have occurred during a negative situation. This encouragement helps to ease the pain. Fortune cookies provide us with a bit of hope for the future.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.