One whole year.

A year ago today, I lost my stepdad to cancer, but he won: he is in the presence of Jesus. My parents remarried their significant others when I was itty bitty and I don't remember life without them. More than anything I want him back. Grief is just the price we pay for love. For the first time since he passed, I searched through my old email correspondence with him. I was in giggle fits to find this was the last email I received from him: 

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls. 
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare... You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission. 

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? 
 6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog. 
 7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies.
Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Ever since my high school we had a running joke of "don't eat too much." To let you in on the funny, it was my senior prom and after pictures at my parents house, our parents were sending my friend group off with well wishes. They were yelling goodbyes like "have fun" "be safe" and so on. Not to be outdone, my stepdad yells "BLC, don't eat too much." I remember him being mortified, my mom elbowing him, and everyone laughing. I still think its just as funny as I did that day. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Xoxo-BLC

PS: I really appreciate the kind words you shared last year. Donna reminded me last year that Christmas in heaven and celebrating Jesus's birth with him is far better than year (you can read her comment here). It helped me focus on his win, not our loss. In the past year, I can think of a friend who lost a parent, a friend who lost a sibling, and friend who lost a child. Being comforted by you helped me comfort them.
PSS: I wrote this post about grief: "Good Grief." If you struggle with grief it might help you a little too. :)


  1. I lost my dad a year ago also. I remember your post but I can't remember if I commented I was so devastated and I didn't want to talk about it. Anyway wishing you and your family a fab holiday!

  2. This is such a wonderful last email to have, and a perfect reminder to enjoy the holiday season. Over the weekend my familiy and I went to our local Hospice tree lighting to remember all the people we had lost over the past year, and while it was sad (tissues were passed around and well used) it was a beautiful reminder to keep those people in our thoughts this holiay season. Even though it's hard to imagine this Christmas without them sitting at the table it just means you can have even more eggnog and cookies, as was so hilariously put in your dads' email!

  3. Thanks for sharing your stepdad's words of wisdom. He must have been a source of great fun. I was LOL'ing, for sure!

  4. I love that list! And how special is it that it is something you can keep and read every year and laugh!

  5. What a very funny email and great way to make you smile thinking of your memories. :)


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