Often, I see people out alone on Christmas or other holidays and I feel sad for them. No one should have to be alone on these days. Yet, today, all I have wanted to be is alone, or at least for it not to really be Christmas. Now, I understand why people would be out at their favorite restaurant or out doing “normal” things on this holiday. Sometimes, it seems what is normal is far less painful than what is special, at least when someone you love is gone.

Dad, Brother and I started the day as we always start Christmas – with coffee and presents. Today, though, it was a brief Christmas moment because we exhausted our presents and our conversation quickly. We scattered to our spaces – TV, workshop, kitchen and spent most of the day there. This afternoon, we drove into town and ate at a Japanese steakhouse. That was a really great diversion; I certainly don’t associate men catching eggs in hats with Christmas. And as the restaurant filled, it did feel – in just the tiniest way – like Christmas: families laughing, the rumble of conversation, something like happiness.

Then, the ride home was silent again. The men have retired downstairs to watch basketball; I have put on Christmas songs and am sitting by the tree. I guess I’m just trying to catch a little of the spirit here.

Tomorrow, I think the momentum will build to the new year, and that will be good for all of us. For today, I abide in the pain in the twinkle of the Christmas lights with “Rejoice, rejoice. Emmanuel shall come to you . . .” playing in the background. As much as my chest aches with grief, it is here on this painful, silent, snowy night that I need to be. Alone.

Candle in Winter