The Hardest Work I Have Ever Done

No matter how I try to brace myself, the pain of facing the holidays without my youngest daughter is crushing. Elly would be turning twenty-eight on December 13th. The reality that she is gone still lies upon my heart like a heavy blanket. The dates hit like bullets: Thanksgiving, Ellys birthday, Christmas, New Years, and the anniversary of the crash on February 12th.

Its supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. The twinkling lights, music, and smells all evoke memories. Remember how it used to feel?

Ellys 24th Birthday Party: Connor was with his mom Laura (Ellys sister) at the airport on February 12, 2009 waiting with balloons to welcome his Aunt Elly home.

One of the Kausner family traditions is to pile the whole family into trucks and vans with plenty of hot chocolate and head for the hills of Western New York in search of the perfect Christmas tree. For our family, this day is mandatory and sacrosanct.

The first year after the crash, the family decided the show must go on. But I hid in my bedroom until they left and sobbed until they returned. The tree sat in the driveway for a week.Four years in, its still the hardest work I have ever done or will do. My best friend who lost her son in a motorcycle accident told me she had to live her life well so that he wont look down from heaven feeling guilty that his death ruined her. That is some good motivation. For me, it translates into investing what I can into those I still have.

Marilyn Kausner lost her daughter Ellyce, 24, on Continental Flight 3407

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US Air 427 9/8/94

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TWA/United Airlines - Mid-Air Collision- 12/16/1960
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