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Roy Glass
B: 1928-04-28
D: 2018-03-08
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Glass, Roy
Paul Eshbaugh
B: 1940-12-04
D: 2018-03-06
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Eshbaugh, Paul
Lula Barnard
B: 1919-04-22
D: 2018-02-22
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Barnard, Lula
Billy Graham
B: 1918-11-07
D: 2018-02-21
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Graham, Billy
Rose Rickard
B: 1931-09-19
D: 2018-02-13
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Rickard, Rose
Gloria Ditmars Fozard
B: 1928-04-23
D: 2018-02-07
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Fozard, Gloria Ditmars
Donald Brawner
B: 1932-11-16
D: 2018-02-05
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Brawner, Donald
David Bayer
B: 1938-11-18
D: 2018-02-04
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Bayer, David
Barbara Gillespie
B: 1931-08-28
D: 2018-01-31
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Gillespie, Barbara
Ross Pollack
B: 1956-11-02
D: 2018-01-27
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Pollack, Ross
Nettie Cole
B: 1935-02-14
D: 2018-01-24
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Cole, Nettie
Juetta Mayes
B: 1925-08-25
D: 2018-01-24
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Mayes, Juetta
Bobby Parrett
B: 1925-09-07
D: 2018-01-23
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Parrett, Bobby
Tom Sizemore
B: 1936-02-21
D: 2018-01-22
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Sizemore, Tom
Jill Barnett Barker
B: 1959-04-30
D: 2018-01-21
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Barnett Barker, Jill
Helen Clark
B: 1921-09-28
D: 2018-01-17
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Clark, Helen
David Athmer
B: 1963-09-02
D: 2018-01-11
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Athmer, David
Carolee Buccalo
B: 1924-02-16
D: 2018-01-01
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Buccalo, Carolee
Joan Martin
B: 1924-10-14
D: 2018-01-01
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Martin, Joan
Betty Gould
B: 1929-02-06
D: 2017-12-30
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Gould, Betty
Lillian Fraine
B: 1921-01-17
D: 2017-12-20
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Fraine, Lillian


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When Christmas is Hard

Christmas is sacred: a time for joy, celebration, giving, and love. There is always so much anticipation associated with this grand holiday. From the gifts, traditions, programs, and light shows, it’s no wonder we get so caught up in all the hustle and bustle of this glorious season.

Every one of us has our own stories and our own memories of Christmas. For many, those stories and memories are lavished in joy. For others, the memories of Christmas are stained with sadness and even loss.

The majority of MY Christmases are overflowing with nothing but utter happiness, as is most of my unbelievably blessed life. However, one of my Christmas memories is soured by grief and sadness because it was the last time that I saw someone that I loved very much.

I remember every detail of the day that I found out I lost him. I was only a freshman in college, waking up with a whole list of class-related worries, in a tiny dorm room. Looking back, those concerns were so small and pointless. On my way to class my sister called because she needed to meet me, and because I had a test, I was reluctant to say the least. However, when I saw her, she looked worried and my mind immediately went to all the people I love. In an instant fear struck me. She told me that Codi, my cousin by blood and brother by heart, had been shot in the head and hadn’t made it. This news made me hurt in ways I had never felt before. But the memories of Codi Ray Jackson are nothing but sweet, and I have so many of them; a million stories about that dark haired boy that I grew up with, started school with, cheered on the sidelines for, and loved with all my heart.             

Each Christmas my thoughts are largely comprised of those memories, partly because of all the Christmases we spent together, and the gifts we gave and received to and from one another, but also because the Christmas of 2010 was, as I said, the last time I saw him.

Growing up, we were inseparable. So much so that they called us “salt and pepper.” However, in later years we had made conflicting life decisions and had grown apart. The reality of our strained relationship was highlighted at this particular Christmas when, despite my best efforts, we barely talked. In my imaginative mind, I always believed that one-day we would be close again, an idea that made it easier to handle the distance between us throughout that particular Christmas.

Because of all that, you can imagine my frustration each year when I realize that Christmas reminds me of the last time I saw him. You can understand my sadness when I grasp that I do not get to give him a gift or a hug. You can sense my chagrin at the idea of spending another Christmas without him and never having the future relationship that I had hoped for.

Fortunately, for me, and for those with a similar story, life is a journey. Every day is full of blessings waiting to be discovered, and despite my frustration, I truly believe that a decision must be made to think about the meaning of this season even though it can hold sadness for those of us who have lost someone we love.

The season of advent is all about remembering the first coming of Jesus Christ, and looking forward to the second. That is the hope and the spirit of Christmastime. There are symbols of this hope spread throughout Christmas, even the beloved Christmas tree (evergreen) represents the hope of eternal life that comes through Christ and serves as a reminder of the freshness of God’s love and promises.

As Christmas quickly approaches, be aware of those little blessings and make a conscious choice to appreciate them. Let them fill you up with hope, peace, and goodwill to men. And may they allow you, despite grief, to have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

With love,
Addison Koch

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