It is during the holidays that we feel our losses most keenly.  Perhaps it is the expectation that everyone will unite and a spirit of peace and togetherness will cover all the ills of the year in the past.  Perhaps it is that everyone expects some kind of inner transformation to take place at that time, when we appreciate what we have and look forward to a future year with eagerness.

We lost my Dad 10 years ago on November 24.  This year, that was Thanksgiving Day, and his absence was felt by all of us.  Dad was a great man, with an almost encyclopedic memory for jokes.  I have never met anyone who could tell a joke like my dad, nor anyone who had a joke for almost any occasion and any subject.  He was also a loving, devoted husband and father.  We were blessed to have had him in our lives.

Alan's illness makes all of us a little more sober this year.  He is distant from us, yet with us.  His suffering tempers all our celebrations.

Alan has always looked forward to family gatherings.  His anticipation for Thanksgiving and Christmas in years past has put a special feeling of joy in our celebrations.  This year, for him, it was July of 2013.  He was angry with us for wearing sweaters, and completely baffled as to why the Macy's parade was on the television.

We feel the loss this year of the Alan we knew, the Alan who is hidden by the curtain of disease.


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