My father died on December 19, 2002. His funeral and burial were on the 23rd. Two days before Christmas, we were laying my dad to rest. I can recall almost everything that happened between his death and funeral. I remember mom getting a phone call from my sister and then telling me. I remember meeting my sister at the medical center and collapsing into each other's arms as we hugged for probably the first time in our adult lives. I remember watching my sister's reaction through my aunt's rearview mirror when the bulldozer came to close the grave. I remember the debate about whether we should exchange gifts on Christmas Eve (our family tradition) or whether we should wait until we had processed the tragedy. We decided to go ahead and exchange gifts, but the air was heavy with grief. The normal laughter and merry making was muted by a sadness I had never known before.
The only thing I can think of is to make the most of Christmas this year. With so many good things, there is a look to forward to.