January 15 marks the day when my friend Charity watched frantically, hysterically as her husband and three-year-old son were swept out to sea by a sneaker wave.
Every year, on the anniversary of the Worst Day Ever, Charity is determined to get as far above sea level as possible.
Five years ago this month, I had head surgery. My husband—dealing with cancer and the side effects of wretched chemo—whisked me away to a resort village in the mountains with a tiny tree, a few lights, and a couple of gifts. It was a blissful, healing time.
We didn’t know it would be our last Christmas together.
My daughter Summer married her college sweetheart in the month of December. Several years and six children later, Josh and Summer are still sweethearts. And the only way they can get away for a few days together is when a grandparent is present.
This is where I come in.
This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white. Gaggles of geese discussing where to winter. Breaking trail in snowshoes. Family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting candles and opening gifts and ringing in a New Year.
And yet, the holidays without a job, without our health, with missing loved ones just aren’t the same.