I can barely remember Christmas day last year, just a day and a half after Errol died. The Christmas presents my mother had bought him were quickly wrapped and stowed in drawers where they remain.
This year, we receive our first white Christmas in memory. We drive through the fine snow to my parents’ house where Owen’s jolly cousins great us, and we march into the living room in chronological order singing, We Wish You A Merry Christmas. After the gifts are opened, my mother brings us Errol’s Christmas stocking, in which each family member has written down a gift Errol gave them: “his smile,” “his courage,” “his laughter.” The children gather around their grandmother, hoping to hear their own memories read aloud. The delicate flakes drift down from the luminous sky and cover the house like a blanket.