You see, I lost my son, Luke, in August.
Everyone thinks their child is special, and indeed each child is. But Luke was exceptional, if you judge by the number of people he touched. Friends came from West Virginia to participate in a memorial here. His friends in Florida held another memorial. I got e-mails from his friends as far away as Connecticut, Louisiana and Florida.
When Luke was little, he loved Charlie Brown and Snoopy. He always called Snoopy, Snoopy Brown. It made sense that Charlie Brown’s dog would share his last name.
I told Luke that Snoopy and I shared the same birthday – April 22. Only my best friend and I remember an article in the Cincinnati Post & Times Star that stated this truth.
Luke, me and another of our friends carried the tradition into Luke’s adulthood. We would always send each other Peanuts greeting cards.
This year I embarked on a scavenger hunt for Charlie Brown Christmas ornaments. Strangely enough, I didn’t own any. And even stranger still, I felt compelled to find some as a sort of memorial to Luke.
I got ridiculously out-bid on e-bay. 80 freaking dollars?
I looked in all the big box stores and found characters ranging from Bratz to Rudolph, but no Charlie Brown. No Snoopy.
On a whim, I asked my mother to stop at a Hallmark store. Huzzah! We found the mother lode of Snoopy Brown Christmas ornaments.
My mother stood back while I studied the choices. I settled on a set of Charlie Brown miniatures. It contained the familiar characters dressed up for the nativity scene in the school play.
Charlie Brown is dressed in a brown robe. Lucy is dressed in blue holding an anonymous Christ child. Snoopy stands nearby holding a shepherd’s hook. And Sally, Pigpen and Linus make up the wise men bearing gifts..
I brought these home with a thought to putting these on my tiny table-top tree. I didn’t have the heart to put up a big tree this year.
Instead, inspired by I don’t know what, I turned to the table in my computer room which holds the urn with Luke’s ashes, several pictures of Luke, and two candles.
I dusted the table, and carefully placed the tiny nativity scene in front of the urn and between the candles.
Something then clicked in my mind.
I immediately went to a box of photos and found it.
There was one picture of Luke in that box. He is seven or eight years old. He is dressed as Joseph for the church Christmas pageant. He’s wearing brown robes and beside him stands a dark haired girl dressed in the blue mantle of Mary. She is holding a doll to represent Christ.
I took that photo, placed it in a frame and set it beside the tiny nativity scene. They looked like mirror images, that picture and the Charlie Brown nativity. Even down to the hair color of Luke and Charlie Brown and the girl from church and Lucy.
I looked at this tableau and sobbed.
My friend was right, this Christmas is impossible to get through.