The cruelest month

December losses

On a nasty night, Christmas Eve 1965, members of my family walked into my father’s hospital room. We had just returned from my grandparents’ home, where we had celebrated a Swedish smorgasbord, caroled and opened presents. The sideboard boasted turkey, meatballs, limpa bread, inlagd sill, lutfisk, spritz cookies and svensk plum pudding. But this year it all looked a little gray and lackluster. Usually the children went to bed after dinner and were awakened at midnight to open gifts until 2 a.m. But this year we opened presents right after dinner so we could go to see Dad.


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