We went to Home Depot this evening and picked out our Christmas tree, just like we did last year. We brought it home on top of the car, just like we did last year. We adorned it with lights, just like we did last year. And we hung ornaments on our noble fir, just like we did last year.
But this year, we did it without Jud. We felt his absence with every movement.
While trimming the tree, we tearfully paused as we unwrapped from tissue paper each ornament that reminded us of our Jud Bud. One such ornament was given to us from our dear friends the Baesels. It’s a striped green and red frame with a picture of Jud from the day he was born; it reads “Our Christmas Baby 2004.” Another ornament is a snowflake frame with a picture of Jud, one year old, grinning from ear to ear wearing a Santa hat. Still there were other ornaments that were given specifically to him: a wooden plane with his name on it, Mickey Mouse carrying a sleigh of gifts, an old fashioned truck, and others. We set them aside to put on a special, small tree that we purchased just for Jud. His memorial tree sits on our table next to a large 8×10 picture of his beautiful, smiling, face.
Sorrowfully, I came to the realization that we only had one Christmas together as a family of four. At the time, I was completely unaware what an incredibly special Christmas it was last year. I certainly know it now!