Fifty Years Earlier.
Jennifer and her parents, Mary and Robert, had just finished a pleasant dinner together. Jennifer, a fourthgrader, was on Christmas break from school. After dinner, she and her mom were going to May's department store. Christmas was two days away; Mary had to pick up a few gifts in layaway and Jennifer wanted to buy her dad a Christmas gift. As they left, a light snow suddenly began to fall. Jennifer always liked this time of the year, with the homes tastefully decorated and Christmas tree lights showingthrough windows. The parking lot was nearly full when they arrived at the department store. Mary fortunately found an open space at the far end. The long walk was extremely slippery due to the snow.
Once in the store, they quickly went to the layaway department to pick up Mary's gifts.
At the household department, Jennifer found a picture frame she really liked. She wanted to frame a picture shehad taken with her dad. However, since it was getting late and the checkout line was twenty deep, Mary volunteered to pick the frame up in the morning.
After exiting the store, Mary drove home cautiously since the snow had rapidly intensified.
Robert met them at the door and said, "thank God you're home. I was concerned."
After Jennifer gave her mom and dad a goodnight kiss, she brushed herteeth and took a shower before bed.
Before falling asleep, she thought about all the precious moments she had spent with her loving mom. She was closer to her mom than dad, but loved them equally.
In the morning, Christmas Eve, Mary returned to the department store. Before she left, she anxiously glanced out the bay window. The snowy sky had given way to a beautiful sunrise. On the way to thestore, Mary noticed several vehicles in roadside ditches.
Jennifer woke to the sound of voices. She quickly dressed to find out what was happening. When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she saw two men conversing with her dad. A stubby, black-bearded man whom she knew as their family minister, and a tall thin man wearing a uniform she didn't recognize. She slowly walked toward her dad.However, before she reached him, he told her to go back to her room, and he would talk to her shortly. Subsequently, the voices downstairs abruptly ceased. When her father walked into her room, she noticed tears streaming freely down his cheeks.
He sat down and gave her a comforting hug and a gentle kiss. He said, "your mother was coming home from the department store when a car lost control on thesnow covered winding roadway and hit her car."
"Your mother has passed on to be with God in heaven." His eyes were so sad when saying this.
She quietly put her arms around her dad and started to cry.
Later Christmas Eve, Jennifer briefly glanced at the Christmas tree. She was uncertain if she could open her presents knowing her mom was sadly missing. Her dad said, “your mother would have wantedyou to open your presents." With moist eyes, she reluctantly agreed. Suddenly, her mood partly changed to delight. She said, “dad, look what Santa brought me, I always wanted a diary!" Her dad went over and gave her a kiss, "your mother asked Santa for a diary. “She knew you
wanted one." After all the gifts were opened, she went to her bedroom immediately to start writing. "Dear mom, I am...