For anyone who has ever lost a loved one.

MY FIRST CHRISTMAS WITHOUT MY TWO GRANDFATHERS, AND MY DOG BOOTS

I wrote the bones of this on Christmas Eve on delayed a plane after a few glasses of wine. There are probably several misspellings and grammatical errors. But it’s from the heart.

Many say timing is everything. And it’s something I believe has been true in my career over the last few years. It hasn’t been so great in other areas of my life. Specifically in 2017 in terms of family.

Timing just wasn’t on my side when I needed to be there. I don’t get home as often as I’d like. Because I create travel films for a living often for weeks at a time, work projects keep me away, sometimes when my family needs me most.

In 2017, I lost both of my grandfathers and also my dog, boots.

And this was our first Christmas without them.

My mom’s dad, while I was on an assignment in Nebraska.

My sweet Boots left me a day before I was surprising my family on a trip home from a project in Colorado in July.

And in September, my dad lost his dad, when I was in the middle of a 19 day film project in California.

But what we take from loss and what lives on are the great memories we shared together and the lessons they taught us along life’s way.

I know my entire extended family was all thinking about our grandfathers this year. And I’m sure it was far more tough on my mom and my dad and their sisters and brothers than it was for us kids.

To anyone out there who has ever lost anyone – you are not alone.

It’s okay to let out the sadness. Let the tears flow. And after…

Choose happiness, because we can.

Choose to look on the positive side of things, because we can.

Choose to remember the good old times, because we can.

Embrace the present moment, because we can.

Hug the ones we care about a little tighter, because we can.

As we bring new traditions (like piñata’s + chilaquiles) to family celebrations, holidays, and gatherings, and excitement and light into each-others lives, we’ll always remember the Christmas’s past.

This year there may have been one less bark when there was a knock at the door, one less story to told around the dinner table, and one less joke cracked from the couch

But most importantly what’s to be remembered is that…

Memories last a lifetime…so…Spend every moment you can with those you treasure, for we never know which day will be our last together.

We all miss you. xx

Family Christmas, Illinois Christmas, loss of loved one christmas, Kristen Kellogg