Ghosts of Christmas Past


Yesterday we were running the last of our errands and the song ‘Creep’ by Radiohead came on the radio. Whenever I hear Radiohead, I think of my beautiful, French friend, Veronique. It was one of her favorite bands and I can’t make it through the song without shedding a few tears. She’s been gone for almost two years now and the world shines a little less brighter without her in it.

It got me thinking about so many people who are no longer with us but for the memories we have of them. Good times; touch times; funny times; sad times, so many things shared with our friends and family and wouldn’t it be nice if we could have just one more night with each of them? A quick visit where we get one more laugh, one more hug, maybe even an unsaid apology. Just one night, one visit from those we miss.

And then I started to think that as much as I may miss dear friends who no longer walk among us, THEIR children most likely miss them so much more. Veronique’s two sons; my “3rd Mom” Paula’s adult children Molly and Joe, as much as I miss her I can’t imagine their thoughts on another Christmas Day without her in the kitchen cooking for not only them, but the grandchildren she never got to meet.

I wish THEY could hear their mom’s voices just one more time (I actually have an old answering machine with a message from Paula when she was sick but before she got too bad, 11 weeks from diagnosis to death wasn’t nearly enough time to process it all.) I wish I could hear my Grandpa say “Merry Christmas Mommy” to my Grandma and see her sweet smile.

 I’m sure all of us can list those we miss. There are so many people weighing on my heart today, Michele in Hutchinson who has to celebrate her first Christmas without her son, Reno and know that the anniversary of his death is just days away; our Highland Games brother Bill in Illinois who has to attend his son’s funeral on Sunday; Veronique’s boys; my lovely friend Jenn whom I know misses HER mom so much, so many more.

So as we sit and chill and maybe even do it in separate rooms (currently the Z’s are in the backroom watching some raunchy comedian; Oz is upstairs in his room playing his new video games, and Matt is outside smoking a cigar while keep a close eye on our beautiful nearly eight pound Prime Rib roast that currently is residing in the Big Green Egg for the next few hours) I’m so incredibly thankful for the fact that all my children are in the house on Christmas for the first time in years. Of course Zandra was the last one downstairs before we could dig into our stockings and when she groggily came and sat on my lap (at 11:00 am) her twin, Zac, came and put his arm around her and her simple greeting of, “Brother” brought more tears to my eyes. I’m so thankful.

But just one more visit from some ghosts of Christmas pasts would be so nice, for so many of us.


About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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1 Response to Ghosts of Christmas Past

  1. yogretch says:

    Hey sweetie, I’m just catching up and missed this post. Sending you thoughts of peace and comfort. Miss you! Best of luck next week at East/West. ❤

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