Robert Barron column: Cherish your loved ones at Christmas time

Robert Barron column: Cherish your loved ones at Christmas time

It was a real pleasure to meet up with Mike Bro again at the Cowichan District Hospital last week.

It was a real pleasure to meet up with Mike Bro again at the Cowichan District Hospital last week.

Bro is heart-transplant recipient who has been participating for the past three years in the annual Operation Popcorn that takes place during the holidays in hospitals across B.C.

Basically, Operation Popcorn is a way for people who have had organ transplants and their friends and families to say thank you with a gift of popcorn to the province’s health workers who helped them through the difficult process.

Bro, who is the father of seven children, was born with a congenital heart defect and had four open-heart surgeries to try to correct the problem over the years before he finally received a very successful heart transplant in Vancouver in 2010.

The joy of having their father still in their lives, especially during the Christmas season, was apparent on the faces of two of his children, teenage daughters Alecsa and Jordyn, who go to the hospital each year with Bro to thank staff and hand out popcorn.

You could easily tell how close Bro is with his children by the tender way they treated each other while visiting different sections of the hospital.

Family is important, particularly at this time of year, and this family has experience enough to know that each moment they can spend together is special and not to be wasted.

I also come from a large family of seven kids and my memories of Christmas time with my parents and siblings are among the best I have.

I was the youngest child and the standard Christmas morning practice was for us all to line up in the hallway outside the room where the Christmas tree was located before we were allowed to enter.

Being the youngest, I was put in the front of the pack which was a great place to be unless you’re the smallest of an excited and sugar-filled mob that are ready to run you over the minute the parents gave the signal to storm the Christmas tree.

The first few moments were always an exercise in self preservation for me, with the gifts left from Santa Claus a very secondary consideration.

These memories always fill the room with laughter every Christmas when I recount them for my siblings.

Christmas memories with the family were also held dear when I had to spend two of the festive seasons alone in Toronto many years ago.

I lived with a group of friends who typically went home for the holidays, but I had to work right through Christmas and didn’t have that option.

When I returned to our house after working on those two Christmas Days, I remember standing in the window staring out onto the street for no other reason than to just catch a glimpse of someone, and the television’s volume was on high in an effort to try and fool myself into thinking that I wasn’t all alone.

Those of my siblings who are in the vicinity still get together as much as we can during the holidays, although the loss of our father earlier this year and our eldest brother two years ago now casts a shadow over these gatherings.

But the memories live forever and, in the end, they are really all we have to cling to and cherish.

Merry Christmas Cowichan Valley, make sure you enjoy every moment of it.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Logan Rands pokes the puck away from Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Talon Duff. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Offence sags as Cowichan Capitals reach midway mark

Caps score one goal in three games as pod season continues

BCYP Minister for the Southern Interior, Aislinn Dressler of Fernie said the Youth Parliament being virtual was a great way to learn about how the BC Parliament was operating. (Photo contributed by Aislinn Dressler)
Applications open for Islands Youth Parliament

Applications must be received by April 23

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Victoria police are looking for a 38-year-old man after he allegedly assaulted and choked a missing 15-year-old victim in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
15-year-old choked in Beacon Hill tent, Victoria police assaulted while intervening

Police searching for 38-year-old suspect, two officers injured in altercation with park residents

Most Read