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We Never Forget

The year is waning and yet everything seems to be ramping up, doesn't it? We always try to pack so much into a few weeks out of the year.  Sometimes I have to remember to slow down.

This weekend, Roger and I had an opportunity for a road trip to Tiffin, Ohio. Never heard of it, you say? It's a small town in Northern Ohio, home to two private universities and a community of some amazing individuals.  Because of some of Roger's music connections, CJSTUF was selected as the beneficiary of Tiffin University's annual Holiday Concert at the Ritz Theater.  Roger also had a chance to perform as the "special guest" with the Jazz Vocal ensemble, singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  (Editor's note: he rocked!)

Hey! Who's that famous author in the coffee shop?
During our visit, we had a chance to meet many people. We had a book signing at a local coffee shop on Saturday with front row seats for the Christmas Parade!  Every time we turned around, we met folks who had a connection to either cancer, the loss of a child, or both.  What a wonderful chance to share our story! As we talked to mothers, fathers, grandparents, and friends of those connected with loss, I was reminded that this is such a challenging time of year for many people.  We feel enormous societal pressure to participate in the frenzy of the season, to be "merry", and to think on our blessings, all that we have.  It is important to remember that finding peace may be more important...and also more challenging.  

Time certainly changes things. It feels like such a cliche but there is a profound element of truth to that statement. After three years, this is the first Christmas where I actually came close to decorating.  There is still no place for a full tree in the house but there is a lit garland and wreath outside.  We still don't send Christmas cards but opening one from someone else doesn't send the twinge of sadness to my heart that I felt previously.  We still aren't that big on gift giving but Roger pointed out that we were regularly drifting away from major gift exchanges with our friends and family long before Charlotte left our lives.  I still leak a little, especially at this time of year, but the plumbers seem to have actually mended a few pipes that run straight from my heart to my tear ducts.  

Disney 2009: Quite possibly the best day ever. 
As we drove home from Ohio last night, Roger reminded me that three years ago this week, we were in Disney World on our Make-a-Wish adventure. When we grieve, we never forget. I'm currently reading The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani.  In a passage that struck a chord with me, one of the characters said, "When you lose someone, they take a bigger place in your heart, not a smaller one.  Every day it grows, because you don't stop loving them.  You wish you could talk to them...and it's difficult."

We never forget. We only strive for peace and understanding in spite of our loss.  

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