Christmas is complicated for my family… loud, joyous, infuriating, and completely delicious. It is also the night my dad passed away. It is a time of amazing memories and lots of tears. We might be fine one minute then crying and hugging the next. A time of toasts, eating his favorite foods, and remembering.
I was trying to find a great Christmas picture of my dad, a new one, a great one. I know there is one of him with my mom in front of their tinsel filled tree, him in an amazing slim suit, her in a white toga-style floor length dress and stunning pixie haircut. People used to know how to dress for a night out. I couldn’t find it though. There are others with my siblings in front of the tree, always with my dad, my mom forever the photographer, funny how moms are always the ones taking the pictures. I couldn’t find those albums either. I finally pulled out the green album, the one with pictures of my dad as a kid and young adult…and there they were…my Christmas swoon pictures. Christmas in Korea. The impromptu tree decorated with burlap rags, the little girl proudly holding her gift from the soldiers…and my dad, so very young and so far from home. Super cute, super stoic, and from the look in his eyes…super sad.
This Christmas I have a few friends experiencing their first Christmas since their parents passed away, another friend in the hospital in a touch and go situation, others who have lost their spouses, and the world is back in a state of unease. I think how much of this can we take, then I look at the pictures of this young man, my daddy, and I realize we can handle a lot more than we think we can. We stand up tall and we work for a better tomorrow. My dad was not a complainer, he was a doer, a roll up his sleeves and get it done kind of guy…what a gift it was to find these pictures of him experiencing his Korean War Christmas. I miss him to this day.