While the holiday season is usually one of joyous times spent with family and friends, it can also serve as a time for remembrance and deeply felt love. This is the case for my neighbours, Uby and Cindy Paul.
The Paul’s daughter Christina was five or six years old when she first became enthralled with the lights and decorations that adorned various homes in our town during the festive season. She and Uby would drive around on Christmas Eve so Christina could absorb all of the wonder and beauty.
At that young age, Christina began helping Uby set up the lights and decorations at the family home. It became one of those very special bonding events…an annual tradition.
Every year they would spend many hours together planning and setting up all of the lights and decorations.
Then, tragically, a car accident claimed Christina at 4:30PM on April 6, 1993. She was only 14 at the time.
Later that year Uby and Cindy were unsure about whether to string the lights or not. The pain was simply overwhelming.
After wrestling with the decision for a couple of weeks Uby decided that he would put up the lights as a way of honouring Christina. So, at 4:30PM on November 28, 1993 he turned on the lights at 85 Debora Drive in Grimsby, Ontario.
The date and time were both of special significance to the Paul family. November 28th celebrated the day that Christina entered the world, and 4:30PM was the time that she tragically left it.
Every year since then Uby has spent countless hours planning out the display, adding new pieces, and retiring old ones.
Most of the month of November is spent assembling everything and putting it in place to make sure it is ready for November 28.
Their annual display now includes special elements like the penguins that recognize the Paul’s son Robert who was only 11 when his sister Christina died.
An RIP monument was added this year in remembrance of Uby’s best friend, Al, who recently passed.
Each year the lights are turned off after Christmas Eve in memory of Uby’s brother Robert who died on December 24, twelve years ago.
I cannot even begin to explain the significance of all of the various decorations and lights that bless the Paul’s home between November 28 and December 24. But Uby and Cindy can – and do – when people drop by to see their annual display.
I do know that the angel on the front lawn reminds them of Christina.
The Paul’s are wonderful, gracious folks who share the loving memory of their daughter every year with Christina’s Lights…bringing joy to all who come to view them.
Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.