Josh arrived in Lubbock that evening. We spent the night with *D* and *E*, trying to catch up, trying to let go and allow the healing to slowly begin.
The next day was Thursday, Christmas Eve, and my niece *C*’s 11th birthday. As per tradition, all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc… gathered for brunch at Golden Corral (*C*’s request). It was such an amazing experience to be able to laugh and celebrate following the emotions of the day before. It was important to everyone that the day be about celebrating *C*. To add to the magic of that day, the city received the biggest snowstorm in anybody’s memory. For kids from a West Texas town, a foot of snow offered healing, comfort and joy like little else could. Throughout the day, *A*’s siblings told anyone who would listen that they were positive that *A* had snuck into the control room in Heaven and caused the miracle snow. *C* also informed me that *A* had gotten her Christmas wishes. All she had wanted for Christmas this year was snow and for Josh and I to be there.
That afternoon, we made a pilgrimage back to where *A* is buried. Josh wanted to see her. On the way home, we stopped at an awesome wooden play village to enjoy the snow. When we walked in the gate, we were all amazed to see that the snow was completely untouched. It was a wonderful day for snowballs, snow angels, and general joy. That day galvanized in all of us the resolve and assurance that we would survive. We would feel joy again. We would laugh again, and we would get through it.
The next few days passed peacefully. Christmas, tamales, presents, movies, games… Odd though it is, I can honestly say that it was one of the most wonderful, stress-free visits home that I’ve ever had. In that moment, in those hours, we were content to simply be with each other. The frustrations and drama that so easily enters most of my trips home were not there, and it was beautiful.
Josh and I left Sunday afternoon for the long drive back (he flew in, but skipped his return flight so that he could drive back with me). We drove through the night and made it back home Monday evening, just in time to go to sleep and wake up bright and early the next morning for work.