One week before Christmas, I received an email from a distraught woman. She was wondering if I could do a one time decoration project. Her mother -in-law, had just been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and all the offspring were changing their holiday plans to return home to be with her. Of course, the mother-in-law and her husband were in no state of mind to prepare for the 11 family members of all ages that would be arriving. She still had tests to get to in her weakened state.
The daughter-in-law was out of state and would not be arriving before Christmas Eve. Arrangements had been made with a neighbor who was away for the holidays to house those coming from out of town. Could I decorate that house for a family gathering? I would be starting from scratch, buying a tree, ornaments and more to make their holiday special despite the horrible circumstances. I felt honored to be asked. Bringing calming and healing energy into a time of crisis is why I am in this business.
A couple days later, I stopped by the mother-in-law’s house to get the key and inspect the neighbor’s space I would be decorating. She met me at the door with a hug of gratitude. It was important to honor her courage and humanity in that moment. Throughout the next few days, I made a point to be as minimally intrusive as possible.
The daughter-in-law had given me as budget to work within to buy all the decorations needed and gave me a few cues as to what the matron would find appealing.
I walked into the neighbor’s home, documenting the space for returning it to its original condition after the holiday with photos. I began clearing room for a tree and the guests that would be staying there. Out went an office corner to make way for the tree and the counter was cleared for a centerpiece. In addition, I removed any extraneous furniture and decorations.
I arranged to cut a fresh fir tree for the corner,
bought a wreath for the front door and a garland to string on the bannister to hide hooks for the 13 stockings.
Decorations were to be in silver and gold, along with a bird theme.
I decided to add silver paper cranes to the tree and colored foil ones for the children. Little did I know that the ailing mother was a collector of Japanese dolls and appreciated the origami cranes. All part of the magic.
The daughter-in-law texted me upon her arrival that everything was perfect! How wonderful to have contributed to making magical space for family to join together in what was surely a memorable holiday.