Once I thought that Christmas was, like the song says, the most wonderful time of the year. Then, eighteen years ago today, my closest friend died, painfully and pointlessly, and for a long time afterward I found it impossible to rejoice at Christmas. I went through the motions, but there was a hole in my heart.
Ten years later, almost to the day, I was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. By a coincidence at which I would surely have turned up my nose had I encountered it on stage, I fell in love with Mrs. T at the very same moment. We’ve been together ever since.
I suppose the holiday season can never mean the same thing to a middle-aged man that it does to an innocent, unknowing child. For a decade it meant death to me. Now it means life, hope, and gratitude–which is, needless to say, what it’s supposed to mean. The hole in my heart has healed, and I now know myself to be the luckiest person imaginable, blessed beyond measure with a loving companion, true friends, and a fulfilling career.
Would that my old friend had lived to see and share my good fortune. May all of you be so fortunate, today and always.