On the 50th anniversary of my Grandmother Juanita's passing(who died on Boxing Day), I wrote a little story for my family. This was the 50th Christmas since my Grandfather Del's passing(who died in the spring), and I wanted to do something to acknowledge it too. But I just couldn't figure out what, and then life spun out of control this year and I wasn't able to do anything. I felt sad, and a little guilty about it, but that's life sometimes.
Tonight at church, I thought about him. Right as the candles were being lit and we started singing Joy to the World. I thought that it was sad he wasn't there singing and raising a candle with us. And then I glanced at my family sitting in the rows in front of me and caught a sideways glance of my cousin, M, who is the one who most physically resembles Grandpa Del, and I saw him. For just a moment, I saw him. And tears came to my eyes and fell before I could stop them. And I saw that he, and my grandmother, though they are no longer with us, are in fact with us. And in us. They are a part of who we are.
And as I thought about this again after another fun Christmas Eve party with my family, I had another realization: This, the 50th Christmas since my grandfather's passing, was the first Christmas in my recollection, that all four of his children were at that church service together. It may have happened before and I was too young to remember, or maybe before I was born, but I thought it was eerily appropriate to have all four together again this particular year.
Merry Christmas, to my family, here and in the beyond.