For years after my father died my mom carried on at the holidays as if nothing had changed. Her intentions were good — to keep things the same and not bring any sadness into the room. But things weren’t the same, there was a person missing. My dad. The person who sawed off the bottom of the tree to fit into the tree stand. And who wired the tree with lights and watched as we all decorated it with the familiar ornaments and sipped hot chocolate. Except now I was the one trying to saw off the bottom of the tree and get the lights on just so the way my mom liked. His missing presence lodged itself like a lump in my throat and sometimes it was all I could do not to cry. Not to cry.