WRIGHTWOOD (CBSLA) — Each December, Judith Claridad tries to create a festive atmosphere for her four daughters.
“Christmas is still hard,” she told CBS2’s Greg Mills.
It is difficult but her goal is to make things okay for Carlisi, Carlene, Cariah and Careena. She wants her kids to enjoy Christmas.
“I wanna do it for my kids. I always…every year,” she says choking back tears.
But finding joy on December 25 is always hard for the family. It is a reminder of a terrible loss.
On that day, 10 years ago, Claro Claridad — Judith’s husband and father of the four girls — lost his life while saving two kids from drowning in icy Jackson Lake in the Wrightwood area.
“I get flashbacks of it and I just remember it all the time,” says Careena.
Last week, for the first time Judith and her girls got the courage to watch video from that day.
Claro is playing with the girls in the snow. Minutes later, Judith is getting the two youngest in dry clothes. The older two, Careena and Cariah were with their dad when he jumped into the freezing water to save the two kids.
“I remember it over and over and over again,” says Careena.
The two youngest girls are too young to remember anything but the two oldest have vivid memories of their great dad.
“He was really playful and strict,” says Careena.
Mom clearly misses her husband, the hero. She is hoping her girls can get through Christmas without too much pain.
The city of Wrightwood isn’t forgetting the contributions Claro made to their community. On a bench, there is a plaque in his honor. On it, they call him “Our Christmas Hero.”