A single tear rolled down my check as I drove past a barbecue place on my way to work.

This barbeque place–which I have seen dozens of times–usually means nothing to me but for some reason, today it made me think of my father and his barbeque sauce.

You see, my father collected hot sauce and barbeque sauce from around the world. One summer some friends staying at the house decided to do my parents a favor and clean out the refrigerator. Well, in doing so, they threw out all of my father’s coveted barbeque sauces. So from that day forward those folks were known as “the ones that killed my father’s sauce collection.”

But I digress …

That was just the first story that came to mind when I saw that sign. But it was not the last. Every day there is something small or large that brings back a memory of that man I called Daddy. So today I write this to all the people that have lost someone near and dear to them. During the holidays it is hard to be without your loved ones, especially if this is the first holiday season without them.

As you are shopping for presents, something catches your eye and for a moment you think “Oh, that would be a great present for…” and then you remember that you don’t need to buy a present for him because he is no longer here. Or when you are planning the menu for that special family dinner–the same applies, but this time you keep it on the menu just to remember that special person, and what we really have to remember during these holidays is not who has passed, but who is still with us.

We have to remember that we still have wonderful people in our lives that love us and whom we love. We have to remember that we need to cherish those relationships while we are all still above ground.

When it comes to giving presents, the greatest gift we can give is time. Time with each other, time to play, to sing, to dance, to think and to reminisce. The gift of taking a child to the zoo or someone to the park or having a picnic–just a visit can make the difference. Material things are fine. Some people really want and need things. But for others that gift of time is priceless. We never know when we are running out of time, or when our loved ones time will come, but while we are all here together we can give them and ourselves the gift of time.

And that is something that can never be stolen or lost because it is embedded in our memories.

Happy Holidays