Remember those gone, and cherish those still here

I love to read. One of my favorite books is Mitch Albom's “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” At this time of year, I often reflect on the past 12 months - its ups and downs, joys and sadnesses.

Remembering this book, I thought of the five people I'd like to spend Christmas with again. First and foremost would be my dad. It’s been 22 years ago on September 28 that he unexpectedly passed away.

Even after all of these years, I think about him.

Every. Single. Day.

I talk to him - sometimes out loud (no judging allowed).

And I remember him - his laugh, gentle nature, forgiving attitude, and love of animals. And as age plows me over, remembering these things gets more and more difficult.

And sad.

Maybe this time of year, we should all take time to reflect on our special Christmas people of the past — people we wish were here to celebrate Christmas with again.

We all have people we miss during the holidays, buried deep inside us: parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and favorite teachers.

This time of year, we always get caught up in the hectic rush of the season. This year is no different, with a week less between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So maybe we should pause and remember who these people were and what made them so special to us? Was it their sense of humor? Generosity? How did they make Christmas so great for us? What did they do that made them so indelibly part of our soul?

Another one I would love to spend time with is my identical brother, James, who died at six days old. I never knew him, but would love to meet him.

I wish I could also spend the holidays with both of my grandmothers and my father-in-law who passed away this year.

At this time of year, it is also important to remember those special people who are still with us. Really, that’s one of the most important lessons of today: Cherish the people we celebrate the holidays with. Give them a hug. Tell them you love them, because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

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