As I listen to this incredible song on the day before Christmas Eve, many gifts still to wrap, I want to tell you about people found, people loved, people lost.
About 50 per cent of people in North America have experienced separation or divorce. I'm among them. That's not directly what this is about.
All I want to tell you about tonight is the people on the periphery who are lost as a result of that, people I'm thinking about.
When the marriage of two people breaks down, it's not just the husband and wife who break up, and it's not just their kids who are thrown into chaos. People take sides. It's human nature.
Brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, their kids you loved -- your nieces and nephews, children you tossed in the air and teased and who you wondered if you might say a speech at their wedding -- disappear from your life.
They almost become ghosts. You don't see them any more. You don't hear about them. Tanis, Derek; Kristopher, Jessica; Michael, Justin, Dylan, Darren; nephews and nieces once, stolen away.
Ryan, Barb; Ronnie, Janet; Cam & Sherilyn, their parents...your in-laws on your ex's side of the family...all gone. Like they never existed, but you know they did. You loved them for 20-25 years.
You loved their kids, you saw them every Christmas, every birthday, you got to know their families and feel warmth and love about them and for them, know their struggles, triumphs titillating their lives.
The couple above lived with my ex and I for a while before they got married. The guy on the left is my ex's brother, posing with his second wife and their first-born at my ex's family cottage.
The pic on the right is from a couple of years ago of the entire expanded clan. I haven't seen them or heard from them in about a year, maybe, although I think about them often and love them all.The pic on the left is of one of my sisters-in-law in the back, holding my then one-year-old daughter on the left and her daughter, Tanis, on the right.
The pic on the right is Tanis's wedding about a year ago, with my daughter and son on the far right. They were part of the wedding party.
I was invited by the mom to "sit at the back of the church so you can see your kids in the wedding party." She had to "hide me." I didn't go. Instead, I sent a cheque and a card to my niece and her husband.
The lad on top there with the blonde hair is my nephew Kristopher, whose pic I loved taking. Haven't seen him since 1996. The girl at the left on my lap there with my daughter is Jessica. Same deal.
Argh. Outta sight, not outta mind.
So what do you do with this? You need to accept it and allow yourself to still hold those people dear and close, but realize that they have to do what they have to do..and that you do too.
And that at special times like Christmas, you have to embrace the people you've always embraced, and to bring more into what you want to and have to embrace, and leave the past to what it is.
If Blogger had allowed me, I would have posted more pix of my close family (three sisters, two brothers, their spouses and kids). But here are my kids and a lovely woman who I want to embrace this Christmas.
Like the song says, it's time to say it: Goodbye. Goodbye.
Merry Christmas to you all.