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Orphaned at Christmas

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I felt as if my chest was being compressed and my throat was closing as I stood at my kitchen counter. It was physically painful to hold in the desperate sobs that so needed to be free.



I remember parts of that Christmas day clearly, even though it was eighteen years ago.




My children were ages eleven and eight. They had been through enough sadness and stress since the previous April. That was when their grandmother (my mom) had died from complications of cardiac arrest. It was important to me that they have a joyful Christmas.


We had already opened presents that morning and I was trying to get the food ready for dinner. But I felt that I couldn't breathe. The grief was so very heavy! It was tangible, almost like a large brick on my chest.

I had received a CD for Christmas that I'd requested. The artist wrote and performed a song about losing her mother.

I escaped to another room to listen to my very emotional song. As the music started,it felt as if that brick would crush me.…