Prologue

It's Christmas Eve today. It's already dark, and I stand shivering in my parka jacket. Snow is just beginning to fall from the sky. One can see a storm's coming in. Even so, I stand in a most unlikely place. I stand in a graveyard, where memories swirl madly in my mind. Thoughts of warmth fill my heart and warm my shivering form.

When my family was still alive, I remember my mother making the turkey, the rich smells of gravy, stuffing, and deserts wafting their way to my nose. That's how Christmas used to be for me. My father, mother, two brothers, and I would all go and pick the right Christmas tree. My two brothers, Patrick and William, fought each year over the best tree. Consequently, we always ended up with two trees every year. My brothers never did agree on anything. Our neighbors used to call it the Tradition. It was our tradition. A tradition upheld until the day of the accident.

It's a cold night tonight, and I am alone. People say a graveyard is a place solely for haunting spirits, morbid memories, and mourning rituals. I believe contrary, however. The graveyard is the only place where I can still feel my family. They feel farther away each day, and I miss them with a yearning desire that will never be fulfilled. It's bitterly cold outside, and the wind bites into my arms through my thin jacket. I still have not been able to conjure the money for a winter coat. I don't even mind the cold, though. My mind is numb because I can only think of my grandfather.

Tears fill my eyes as long ago memories flood into my mind. All I recall of my family: my father, mother, Pat and Will, and Nonny. All I can recall, especially the beloved words, always and forever. These words will forever remain in my heart. These were the last words of my parents, my brothers, and my grandfather.

My story starts on a Christmas Eve, five years ago...