I found the ornaments we bought together, remembering how much you loved putting them on our tree.
I remember the Christmas Eve we found them on clearance at that all too full department store.
You paid for them with bonus money you had gotten at work, recognition for the job you did day in, day out.
That was the year when illness joined our household and mortality became a defined, visible word.
But the Holidays still came and we celebrated, laughed, cried and found the joy in the season.
The next year, you were gone and I decorated a tree for your daughter with gold and silver paper bows, a last minute effort to help her find her smile.
She hated it, but the Holidays still came and we celebrated, laughed, cried and found joy in the season.
As years have taken us from youth to wisdom, we’ve lived a multitude of Yuletide seasons missing those whose time on earth has found its end.
I think of my grandparents, my aunts, my uncles, my Dad and of you. And while I have limited memories of your holidays because, in my opinion, the time given us together was all too brief, each remembrance comes forth as Christmas rolls around.
My selfishness in rejecting the mortality of my loved ones did not have a place in this life, but propelled me to keep you all in the land of nostalgia. At Christmas, entry into this world is easily achieved and once again we are all together.
Look for the keys that open those doors: a picture, a recipe, a phone call, a book and sometimes, an ornament. The land of nostalgia reminds us that the calendar stops for no one and fate balances the sadness with the good, the happy with the bad and the daily routine with the special moments.
So the Holidays still come and we celebrate, laugh, cry and find joy in the season.
Savor it all and find the flavor that will define the spice and sweet in your life.
Remember, that no matter what happens and despite the hiccups we may find along the way, Christmas will always find its way to our door and with it, a lifetime of memories that define who we are in this collective space we share on earth.
So tonight and tomorrow:
We will celebrate.
We will laugh.
We will cry.
We will find joy in the season.
And in each other, absent or not.
A very Merry Chrstmas to you all.