TUSCALOOSA, AL—Admitting they were sorting through their heartbreak weeks after the tragedy, members of Sarpino family struggled to get through their first Christmas since their father returned, sources confirmed Tuesday. “Honestly, we’ve tried to just soldier through and enjoy what we can of baking cookies and putting on some Christmas music, but it’s hard to ignore how hollow all that is when we know that Howard is really here again,” said a tearful Claire Sarpino, 36, stressing that her husband’s presence was especially painful around this time of year, when there were so many festive symbols of the many happy memories the family had shared before his sudden and devastating reappearance. “God, last year’s Christmas was so relaxed and carefree. We took it for granted that those times without him would last forever. But now everywhere I look—from the shouting in the TV room to the six-pack in the fridge—I see reminders looming in the background. Frankly, I don’t know if we’ll ever put the pieces back together again.” At press time, Sarpino added that she was sure the family would get used to her husband being there eventually, but that their life would never quite feel the same.
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