I hung some of the stockings on the fireplace last week, but not hers. I would like to be the sort of person that hangs her stocking and puts some of her favorite things in it, enjoys her memory, then brings the stocking to her grave on Christmas and lays it there gently, says a prayer. But I am not that sort of person. I will probably throw her stocking into the fireplace. Maybe I'll fill it with coal and hang it on her gravestone. Or more likely the rage will pass and I'll do something sensible, like taking the family to her resting place on the 21st with some of her favorite ice cream (butter pecan sans pecans). And I won't really want to be there, and the visit will have nothing to do with the holidays. I will go out of a begrudging sense of duty that Nicole would have appreciated. We'll be sensibly sad and cry a little, then we'll go home and live our delightful lives. She'll be extracted from my holiday memories for several years and then one day I won't even think twice about using the roses on the tree, and her stocking will be long gone. December 21st will be a day when maybe Jay or I will say, "Hey, isn't it the anniversary of.." and whoever didn't say it first will be embarrassed, then we'll distract ourselves with something more fun to think about, and that will be that.
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