Christmas has always been special in our family, a time for togetherness, unity and love; with noise and laughter and squabbles filling the house. This year, we five sisters celebrated it in the time honored tradition of our parents on Christmas Eve night. Going home for me is hard on any day, but for some reason on holidays it is even more difficult. No Mom in the kitchen, smiling and ordering us all to line up and start dinner and remember the kids get theirs first …….she was always the last to fill her plate and take a seat. No Pops in front of the television, remote control aimed at the box to raise the volume above the noise level of a house overflowing with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The tree was different, a new tree my little sister bought and put up in a totally different place and room from the one Mom did. All so strange and out of place somehow. I made most of the desserts this year……..I missed her Graham Cracker Cake and Pecan Pies. Traditions die hard, especially the ones that bring a sense of normalcy and peace to us. The loss of them reinforces the fact that they are gone for good and nothing can ever change that. No matter that none of us would wish them back to the pain and suffering they endured before they died, each of us at one point voiced that we missed them and how strange it was to be there without them.
My sisters haven’t been close since our parents died, for whatever reason. It isn’t easy to be close with most working, living separate lives with different stresses and responsibilities. Tonight was the first time I felt they all cared, each and every one of us offered an invisible olive branch to the other, unqualified love and understanding and friendship. It was a wonderful feeling for me. I sincerely hope they all felt that way. Our parents would have been proud of us all……………make that were proud of us all, for I know they were there………..if not in fact, then certainly in our hearts and memories.