This year will be different.  When (our youngest son) Jordan was first diagnosed with cancer back in late November of 2011 Everything stopped. We stopped celebrating.  When I asked him if I could bring a tree and gifts to his hospital room, he said Dad, “We’ll have Christmas when I get home.”  It didn’t happen.  We spent the next three Christmases in the hospital. It was a tough battle, and we lost him.  We haven’t felt much like celebrating anything.  Then, Jordan’s words came back to me. “Let’s be men about it.” More than anything, Jordan loved being with his family at celebrations. He lit-up when his nieces and nephews were over and delighted in rough housing in the yard.  He adored every one of them.

Jordan loved family above all, but he would want us to go forward and not dwell on his loss.  It hurts me to type this, but I knew him well.  He was totally selfless, and this is not a surprise. After five years, there will indeed be a tree in our house and a place for the children and grandchildren to gather.  There will be food and laughter and love everywhere. That’s the way Jordan would have wanted it.  No question.  His love was deep. As dreadful as this loss has been, our family is tired of lemons and ready to make lemonade. Yes, we hurt. Things may never be the same, but we are going to make them the best they can be.

I see on Facebook that many of us are missing someone that we loved this Christmas and feeling sad and lost.  We are all missing someone.  Please remember all they contributed to our lives to the Holidays.  Celebrate them in a positive way.  I see that a lot of folks put up the Christmas Tree on Thanksgiving.  I understand the reasoning that families are together on TG and therefore let’s do it together.  Perhaps a family tradition. Christmas to me is special.  As a result, I feel it might be diminished if it lasted six weeks.  I put up our tree, generally on December 15th.  Nearly all of our ornaments were special gifts from the Grandmas or made by the boys when they were children.  Each one tells a story and bathes us with heartwarming memories. I choose a fresh tree, fresh cut and the result is fewer needles on the floor.  I have even chosen fresh trees (balled & bur lapped) and replanted them in the yard the day after Christmas. If you do this, I recommend that you dig the hole long before it freezes.  (I learned this the hard way)

I prefer minimal decorations. I like a wreath and a simple candle in each window.  We are going to have to feel our way through this, and I know that some you are in the same place.  I think we are on the mend.  We’ll get through it and so will you.  I send you love and warm wishes from our home to yours.  Merry Christmas.    Neal

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