Yes Virtignia, there is a Santa Claus

A couple of weeks ago, Virtignia and I were chatting, as we tend to do on afternoons when she attempts to soothe my racing mind and churning stomach. She is such an innocent and yet so wise and thoughtful. By that I mean full of thought, because she may not always be as considerate as I would like. That aside, her mind like those of many of us, was focused on Christmas, and she was troubled by something that mean old Roamin Carcinoma had told her:

Renelle, Roamin told me there is no Santa Claus, and as much as I try to convince him otherwise, he still insists that he doesn’t really exist. I told him that I would ask you because you usually know about these things. So please tell me, is there really a Santa Claus?

Virtignia,, consider who Roamin is and what he does.


I borrowed this image from, but it’s pretty close to what I imagine Roamin Carcinoma might look like.

Of course he’s going to tell you such things. All the same Virtignia, Roamin is wrong. How can I be so sure, you wonder?

Just this year alone, I’ve received more blessings than I can tell you. Does that sound funny coming from a person who has stage four cancer? No doubt it does, but there’s more to me than my disease. For example, I’ve had the privilege of meeting lots of wonderful people and have reconnected with a good many others. Some of the nicest folks we met were fellow travelers at a resort in Cuba.The trip was a Christmas gift that Franco and I gave each other. The new friendships were an added gift; thank you Santa!

You know I love meeting new people, no matter what the circumstances. The first time I had to be hospitalized, one of the nurses on the ward noticed that I was feeling scared and lost, so she came over and simply wrapped her arms around me and held me as I cried. If Santa is the personification of generosity, then she is the proof that such selflessness really does exist.

Spontaneous generosity of spirit, love freely given just because it is needed at that moment, these are what make a dreary day sparkle, what enable us to believe that Santa is as real as my friendship with you, dear Virtignia. If you can’t believe in Santa, then how can you believe in love or in friendship? How can you be moved by a piece of music or touched by a work of art? Santa is like a child’s innocence that we attempt to preserve for as long as possible before the harsh realities of life come rushing in. If we are lucky, we find and nurture the child within who in turn allows us to laugh at silly jokes, to dance because the music tells us to, or even to jump in a puddle no matter the mess.


I’ve learned that it’s okay to tell my friends that I love them without worrying that they’ll think I’m weird. I am weird; there’s no getting around that. My friends keep me sane, especially when we’re acting crazy. They make me laugh, really laugh and I’ve learned it’s not just a tired cliché to say that laughter is the best medicine. Santa’s mantra is HO HO HO; need I say more?

My friends and family have shown me such selflessness, especiially this year. It would take me too long to recount their many kindnesses, but indulge me in just a few.

Virtidge, remember when I found the picture of that hat that I fell in love with?


© Jo Storie

I was determined to make it for my daughters and began what turned into quite a frustrating endeavor to order the knitting pattern from England. I tried and both of my daughters tried also. One evening I took to my Facebook page and asked if anyone had any suggestions. By the next morning, not only did I receive several suggestions, but I also found a PDF copy of the pattern in my email inbox, purchased by a dear friend. Another friend bought the hard copy and sent it to me by mail and still another had contacted friends in England who were attempting to get me the actual hats. I was blown away. If you know me at all, you know that I cry easily; I bawled. No, of course I’m not crying now, but hand me a tissue will you?


This is the finished project worn by my two favourite models Julie and Jessica. A side view would have been better so you could see the cable work, but I just love their pretty faces so much!

You yourself have commented on all the cards and flowers I’ve received to encourage me through the tough times. And what about my sister Jo-Anne’s trip to see me? You may remember her, she can pack a suitcase like none other. I was afraid you might end up in it. Did you know that I also have two very nice gentlemen who send me music to soothe my soul?

Just recently, a gigantic box arrived at my door containing all kinds of goodies, items to bring me comfort – from scarves to gel booties – a little Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga (who knew the Lady could sing jazz like that?) and loads of other things. It was from a group of ladies that I went to high school with. The one item that they included that touched me most, was the greeting card full of individual signatures with messages of love and encouragement.

I won’t deny that I have allowed myself moments of self-pity, when I wondered what I had done to deserve this cancer, but I’ve spend much more time in grateful puzzlement, wondering what I had done to deserve such magnificent friends. As I’m writing this, I’m picturing them all wearing Santa hats, (they’re much too cute to have to wear the whole getup) because they’ve given me the gift of their friendship, and I, in return, offer them each a piece of my heart. The beauty of this, is that I could go on and on and…wait a minute..WAKE UP Virtidge!

This year has been a lesson in love. One of the many things I’ve rediscovered is how lucky I am to have such a loving family.  Franco has been endlessly patient as I forget things, cry for no apparent reason, rage at Roamin Carcinoma, and  push myself until I drop. We are a little like a brand new couple. All the things that I used to find charming at the beginning, that became a little tiresome later on have regained their charm again.  Please don’t tell Franco this as I don’t want to spend the rest of my life pulling his finger 🙂


My girls continue to bless me with their sweetness and love. They give me endless things to look forward to. Have you figured out what to wear to Jessica and Tony’s wedding yet Virtignia? I spend so much time looking at Mother of the Bride dresses online, I barely have time for my blog.

Are you starting to understand that Santa is real no matter what anyone else says to the contrary?  A wise man once said,

 Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

                                                 Francis P. Church

So, phooey on you Roamin Carcinoma! Go spread your lies somewhere else. We’re not buying it. This song is for you…

Please treat yourself to the original that I so blatantly stole from. I hope I don’t get arrested or something.

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16 thoughts on “Yes Virtignia, there is a Santa Claus

  1. Thank you for re-affirming my faith in Santa and humankind for that matter. You’ve had a tough year sis but think of all of the great things coming your way in 2015 🙂

    • You’re so right Jo-Anne. 2015 is going to be a wonderful year and I’m determined to love every minute of it. Love you my beautiful sister/friend.

  2. Santa is my neighbour and he loves you. As for not telling Franco, I won’t, but you must. So much is lost in the silence of loved ones, so much is wasted in times of abscences. Be yourself and tell him in your words, or in borrowed ones how you feel and how you love the times of silences and the times of abscences when he is with you.

    • You’re so lucky to have Santa as a neighbour. I hope he cleans up after his reindeer! Don’t you worry about Franco; he’s well aware of how much I love and appreciate him. You are right about telling our loved ones how we feel and I try to do so at every opportunity. I hope we all take your advice.

  3. Our children, and our other halves are the true gifts. Your girls are stunning, and Franco, through your words and photos, does truly adore you.

    I still have a vision of seeing you climb on stage at some tiny venue in the Whiskey District, and watching you smoke one out the way you did in the mid-70’s. I hope you don’t plan on disappointing. 😉

    Oh, and, pull the finger; that is an an opportunity that should not be wasted.

    Much love, my friend.

    • I hope that someday I will have an opportunity to get on a stage again. I truly miss it. If I every do, I hope to see you in the audience! Thank you for your beautiful words about my girls and Franco. I think you’re right. He does adore me, and I adore him right back. As for the finger…I think not.

  4. Renelle,
    Thank you. Nicely written, beautiful daughters and you are a beautiful person. It is very touching how you appreciate and recognize the blessings in your life. We so have to focus on the good in our lives. Healthy happy new year to you and those you love

    • Thank you Kathy. Sometimes it takes a good kick in the pants to appreciate and recognize all the good stuff in our lives. It’s something I plan to keep doing. I find it’s very good for the soul and the body too. I know this is a lesson you’ve learned only too well Kathy. I wish you and yours a healthy happy new year too!

  5. Beautiful, Renelle. You’ve captured the notion that one doesn’t have to actually see something to believe. Faith and love will take care of what one can’t see, and you have a ton of both, and it comes out in the blog. How does it feel to be an inspiration?

  6. Thank you Kathleen! My ‘fantastic’ spirit feasts on comments such as yours. A very happy, healthy new year to you too!

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