“She touches his back, and even through her thick glove she can feel the warmth of him, the sobbing, and what she hopes is longing for something other than an end.”
The Story’s Catalyst: Addiction
Few conditions are more common—or more baffling and mysterious—than addiction. For countless families, the ugly, disheartening effects of alcoholism reappear in generation after generation, much like a curse they can’t escape. For the lucky few, sobriety is achieved and life has a chance to begin anew. More often, that’s not the case. Maggie, in “Holy Night,” is not unique. She’s heard all the promises before, witnessed the slow destruction. She knows what her son’s drinking has done and will do again. She understands, finally, that she can’t change him. She also knows she may not be able to stop trying.