“Because I miss you most at Christmastime,” sang Mariah Carey.
I’m sure you’d love the fact that I’m starting a letter to you with a song from Mariah Carey. I can hear your laugh and see you roll your eyes. Maybe that makes it a little easier to write.
This is the fourth Christmas we’ll celebrate without you, but it’s the first Christmas letter I’ve written to you. In 2016 I added an event to my calendar, “Christmas Eve letter to Dan”. For the last three years I’ve watched the event approach and pass by.
The first year my feelings were just too raw. My heart ached and my eyes welled at the thought of you. My goal for that Christmas was to make sure that there was as much joy as possible for all of our family. With that task in hand, I just couldn’t write.
In 2017 and 2018 I didn’t write again. My feelings were less raw, but I was afraid. If I wrote this letter to you, would all the pain and hurt return? In hindsight it was a silly sentiment. Although the emotions aren’t so raw, the hurt never goes away.
As Christmas approaches, I think about memories we shared from the holidays. I like to remember you as you really were (as we all are)- imperfect and lovable all in one package.
There couldn’t be Christmas shopping without a text from you needing clothing sizes for my kids– in about two minutes because you were leaving that store soon. It wouldn’t be December if I didn’t hear you quote Clark Griswold’s entire speech from the party scene of Christmas Vacation. Christmas wouldn’t be the day it was without you either (A) arriving late or (B) hosting but being in the shower when everyone arrived. Baking wasn’t complete until you texted for a fifth (sixth) time asking for the sugar cookie recipe. Again, needed right about that moment. Above all of that I remember planning with you when we’d see each other because it wouldn’t feel like Christmas if we weren’t together.
So, here I am, days away from Christmas writing to you. For a fourth year you won’t be there at Christmas. No last minute texts or Clark Griwold quotes. I know I was fortunate to have spent 41 Christmases with you, but if I can be greedy, it wasn’t enough. I really thought we’d have many, many more.
And although I started with Ms. Carey’s song, the truth is I don’t miss you most at Christmastime. I just miss you.
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