The year winds down this month and many of us celebrate important holidays as a family or according to our spiritual traditions. For me, I must always have to grapple with the tree. My father was the king of all Christmas tree decorators. He did not come this way by happenstance, but through a long line of ancestors who have loved the Christmas tree. His grandfather had his house wired for electricity in order for him to have lights on his tree. Growing up with the tree as a focal point of the holiday preparation, I grieve a little each year knowing that I will not have him with me and his trees belong to the ages. The first year following his death was by far the most difficult for me, however, I still need to brace myself and allow myself time to figure out how I will do the tree. My children love the tree as much as I do and I want them to know the joy of a beautiful tree. What I must do is make the tree my own. I learned from him how to do a tree, but I must make the tree – my tree. I honor him, but it can never be his tree. It has to be my tree, but one that allows me to remember my father. It can be no other way. I have found that June around his birthday and the day he died, and December around Christmas are the times I feel his loss the greatest. The only way through for me is to acknowledge the truth and move through it in love. This is not always so easy. Sometimes I still rage at the fact I have to face another Christmas without him. The fact remains, I do. In order to make it bearable I take the joyful memories with him, hold them close and remember him.