In memory of my step-dad Rod, who was a warm and constant light in our family for the past 18 years, we released floating paper lanterns on Christmas evening. It was such a lovely sight to watch them warmly float away on a very chilly night. We stood in the field by my Mom's, surrounded with family, and friends who are as good as family, remembering and sending up a wish for the coming year.
In the weeks following Rod's passing, a friend who has experienced a similar grief in her life told me the experience of loss forever changes you life. As I look back at our trip west, the days we spent surrounded by family and friends that weave a colorful and interesting web through our lives, I know she was right. Each and every moment of this holiday season, from the spectacular to the ordinary, is tucked away in my heart. Vivid, raw and so full of emotions. Every smile. Every tear. Every belly aching moment of laughter. Every quiet pause of reflection.
Thank you to all who shared these memories with us throughout our trip.
Thank you to all who allow me a moment of your day to share them with you here.