What I’ll be missing this Christmas

What I’ll be missing this Christmas
Columnist Barry Coe.Columnist Barry Coe.

The holiday season this year was different due to Susan’s knee replacement surgery. Typically, our home resembles Macy’s department store in New York City, with time-honored decorations scattered throughout our home. However, due to Susan’s limited mobility we have chosen to minimize the decoration and replace our traditional tree with a 3ft version on the living room table. Much easier and safer, but I have to admit our home looks a bit sparse.

On two occasions I’ve returned to our overflowing Christmas closet to rummage around for some treasured decorations, including three Christmas angels Susan made in 1980 and the nativity scene I made for our children in 1979. My last scavenger hunt was for a 1983 ceramic Santa Claus gift from my longtime friend Lois Lane.

Lois was generous to a mistake. She and her husband Ron have been friends since my old radio days at CHML. She was a wonderful singer at many galas and Ron was the town’s premier pianist. Everyone envied her for her legendary Christmas parties in the cozy rooms of her house – the Lizard Lounge. It was an unforgettable evening of laughter and music. Neighbors stopped and smiled as Lois and Ron uniquely transformed classic Christmas carols. It was a happy event that laid the foundation for Christmas.

While it was hard to accept in some ways, Susan and I were happy for Ron and Lois as they left to pursue their fantasy of retiring in Nova Scotia with an ocean view. Susan saw the move as an opportunity for summer travel to Nova Scotia, but I felt in my heart that it was a final goodbye.

Two weeks ago we were informed that Lois was diagnosed with terminal cancer. A numbness settled over us, having walked this familiar path before as a family. As fate would have it, on December 7th, Susan received a text from Ron that Lois’ battle with cancer was over. She walked by overlooking the water she loved. The night before, I prayed for Lois to end her earthly journey painlessly, knowing that we love her.

Maybe my prayer was answered.

Today, Lois Santa Claus is sitting in our living room in a pose making toys for children and making dreams come true. He has a smile on his face and is larger than life, like our Lois.

We were fortunate that Lois allowed us to be a part of her vibrant life. Each Christmas to come we will think of Lois and be thankful for her humor, music and joy.

Barry Coe is a media and PR consultant.

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