For most people this time of the year is full of happiness with both Thanksgiving and the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season upon us. We gather with our family, exchange gifts, share in delicious traditional feasts and celebrate life and the beginning of hope for the upcoming new year.

There are other people who have no family to exchange gifts, enjoy a meal or have someone to celebrate the season with. I cannot imagine being alone during this time of year. I hope if you know someone who may be alone, ask them to join your family. I will.

For many years the holidays were full of excitement in my family. I traditionally hosted the Thanksgiving dinner at my house and always had a house full of people. I loved the preparation, cooking and the feeling of belonging.

We traditionally have a Hanukkah party. In the past I especially loved watching everyone open their gifts, especially the children with their eyes full of pleasure. The floor would be covered with wrapping paper, ribbon and opened boxes. Jason always became lost amongst the array of trash. When we found him, he would be laughing with joy.

The holidays are not the same in my family after losing many loving family members. I am sure this is the case in your families as well. I miss my parents and my in-laws. I also miss my brother-in- law who left us way too soon.

Today I received a reminder in the mail from the funeral parlor who arranged the burial of my dear Jason. They are reminding me that his Yahrzeit candle should be lit on December 23rd this year. In the Jewish religion we pay tribute to our close family with the lighting of a Yahrzeit candle on the anniversary of their death according to the Jewish calendar.

This harshly brought me back to reality. I just lit my mother’s candle last week. You see, loved ones even die during, what should be, a happy holiday season. My mom died a day before Thanksgiving in 1986, and my dear, sweet son died December 22, 2006.

I miss them so very much. I am grateful for my memories. I am also grateful I can share Jason’s life with the world in 2015, with my newly published book, Our Special Child-Jason’s Story.

I do have something to look forward to.

I am going to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner at my son’s house with my grandchildren. I have no doubt my dear departed loved ones will be there in spirit.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. All my love,

Hugs from Jude

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