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This is the time of year when our thoughts always turn to our loved ones, as we remember Christmases past, with longing in our hearts for days gone by. I can remember Christmas when my grandparents were alive, and how one uncle would always arrive at midnight, bringing in all kinds of gifts that made me believe there really was a Santa Clause. How he got the perfect gift for everyone, I’ll never know, but it was worth the wait. (I think he worked, and then did all his shopping on Christmas Eve.) Finally, my grandparents got too old to stay up until midnight, and we had to start without him sometimes. That was Uncle Jack, and I miss him still. He died at 48 years old-far too young to leave this earth.

And of course, my grandparents raised me until I was seven, and my mom and I moved to Atlanta from Macon, Georgia. Leaving them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I thought my little heart would break. My mama (grandmother) was my security, and my papa always brought me chewing gum. (My mom and dad divorced when I was 2, and we went to live with my grandparents for awhile.) My mom says she needed to get me to herself, or I would never have realized that she was my mom. I guess that’s true, because to this day, I call her Betty. They all called her that in the household, and no one taught me any different, so I called her that also. But my grandparents have been gone for quite awhile, and a great deal of my sunshine went with them.

 I never really got to know my real dad, Lonnie, like I would have liked to, but he’s gone now too. I visited him every Christmas and summer from about 10 on (after I contacted him and said I wanted to know him.)  I was in touch with him from about 2 until 6, then I didn’t see him until about 10, but he always sent me a birthday and Christmas present. (Before he died, I thanked him for all the gifts and cards he sent me, and he said he wished he could have been there more for me. I said that I knew he did, and that I loved him. There should have been so much more to say…but there wasn’t.) When I contacted him at 10, he had just remarried, and I spent most of the time with my stepmother, because he worked. For awhile he was a radio DJ, and he sent me all kinds of records, and also tapes of his shows. Later, I went on to work in radio myself, as a DJ, and I also created my own radio show, Love Notes, (teaching, with music that was related) which was on a Christian station (91.1 FM)  for 9 years. I’d love to do radio again. So I guess I got that talent, and a nervous giggle from him. I always thought there would be so much more…but there wasn’t….

And then, my step-dad (from 7 years of age), Sam, died recently. I guess it’s been about 2 1/2 years now, and it seems like an eternity. I always said if the world broke, he could fix it. But it’s broken now, and he’s gone too…

I wonder who will be here next Christmas? I guess none of us can know, and so we live our lives, loving those who are left, and holding them close, because we know what it’s like without our  loved ones. If you are grieving this Christmas, I’m thinking of you also. You are not alone. If you need a place to talk, go to webhealing.com. I’m the Moderator on the Main Board, and they have a Child Loss Board, and a Sibling Board, and it is a wonderful place to find encouragement, and there’s always someone to listen. I’m thinking of all the dear people there who have lost loved ones also, and are hurting so badly. 

So I take this time today, before all the family gathers on Christmas, to think of those who are no longer with us, and to say “Merry Christmas”” in Heaven. I love you, and I miss you always…

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