My Melting Maybe Gift

I’m thankful for this sweet little, mostly depleted candle.

Somewhere in the earlier years of Mom’s AD, before we even knew that’s what was wrong, she stopped buying gifts. I suppose it’s hard to keep up with gifts when you don’t know what day it is, what month it is, or even what season it is.

I remember when the doctor gave Mom her first quick in-office dementia test and it shocked me that she didn’t even know what season it was. She just answered, “I don’t pay attention to those things.” It’s a loss of understanding that hides well, because how often do we ask another adult what month or season it is?

So anyway, when Dad was cleaning out the basement and found a box of things he was going to get rid of, he asked me to look through it first. I found a few brand new items, still in packages, that I figured Mom had bought and put away to give as gifts.

One of the gift boxes had a metal can, decorated with pictures of grape vines, with a scented candle in it. I took it home with me, and wondered if it might have been a Christmas gift for someone. What if Mom thought of me when she picked it out?

What if this candle was the last gift she picked out for me, but never gave me?

I’ve been using the candle. It’s purple and smells “grapey”. Today I wanted to have it burning while I read my Bible. I was saddened to see the wick was burned down almost to the bottom of the can. The wax in the center of the candle has melted down, like a miniature Grand Canyon.

But I lit it anyway. I can’t see the flame from even an arm’s length away. I have to peer down into the can to see the tiny flicker holding on to the remaining wick. But the grapey scent is still strong.

I’m surprised how emotional I feel about this simple, little candle. This maybe gift. I want to be able to light it and enjoy its brightness and scent and beauty indefinitely. But it’s melting away. Gradually. Slowly.

And now I can see bare metal at the bottom of the candle, barely covered by the clear melted wax. I wonder if the flame goes out, if I’ll be able to relight it. The wick may be gone. And then this gift will be just an empty can with melted wax.

I don’t want to blow it out. So I sit and gaze at the flickering flame. I wonder how long it will last. Will I know when it’s taking its last breath?

And I’m grateful, as I look at this flickering, mostly used up candle, that God made souls to live forever. And that those who love and believe in Jesus will be with Him for eternity.

And I’m thankful to know that when Mom takes her last breath on earth, her new life with God will be just beginning. And there her light and essence and beauty will shine brilliantly. Brightly. Forever.

I’m thankful for this sweet little, mostly depleted candle. And I will stay close to its warmth while I can.

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