Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sadness At Christmas

I read a post on Facebook today written by someone who had just
recently lost a loved one.  This Christmas is a sad one for her and it
is for many who have recently and not so recently lost someone who
was dear.  

I left an encouraging note for her because I know and understand the
pain she is feeling right now.  While writing that note, it occurred to
me that many blog readers are experiencing the same loss and 
perhaps I can be of help with those readers as well.  You may well
be one of those readers, and if this is so, this post is for you.

The first Christmas I spent without my Daddy was in 2010.  He had
passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's just 6 months before.
I spent most of those months leading to Christmas comforting my Mom
who was devastated by the loss.  As a consequence, I buried my grief
because I knew I needed to be strong for her.

When my Mom passed away four years later I felt twice the 
grief.  It hit me like a heavy weight and I suffered both 
emotionally and physically.  It was the kind of heartache and
pain I had never known before.  

That first Christmas without both of my parents is a bit of
a blur to me.  I remember we had a big tree and I had every
intention of decorating it, but only managed to put on the
lights.  Hanging ornaments on the tree that had once been
theirs was more than I could handle. 

We invited a co-worker of David's who has no family to
come and spend the day and to have dinner with us.  That
was helpful because it gave me something and someone
else to focus on.  A couple of days later, we headed up to a
resort in Austin to spend what would have been my Mom's
birthday on the 29th and to celebrate New Year's Eve.  It
helped to be away from home that year.

Last year my Aunt Susan died and it was another Christmas without
a beloved family member.  We spent that holiday with friends and
David's family and it helped me to cope with the pain of her loss.

This is the first Christmas that I am not overwhelmed by grief.  It's
been six years of a teary Christmas, but this year is far less teary and
I am actually able to enjoy myself without feeling like I want to climb
into bed and skip the celebrations.

If you are in the beginning stages of the mourning process and this
is your first Christmas without the one you love, I will not tell you
that it will be easy.  We each suffer grief in our own way.  Be kind to
yourself.  Don't push yourself and pretend to be happy when you 
are not.  

Life is never the same after losing a loved one, but it can be
different and you can and will find a way to celebrate their 
memory while allowing yourself to also create new traditions
of your own.  It will get better and next year will be easier and
over time you will treasure their memory in your heart without
too many tears.  From my own experience, I know this is true.
I promise.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. You are so right Susan. This time of year is often very Un-Merry for many who have experienced a tragic loss in or around this time of year.
    I lost 3 family member in 3 consecutive years and I remember how sad I felt for months.
    It was a blessing though, to have a strong faith in GOD and a belief in an afterlife with HIM, which got me and my family through those dark and difficult times.
    Wishing you a Happy Christmas this year, and thank you for this very thoughtful post.

  2. What a wonderful post, Susan. Christmas always makes me miss my family-especially my younger brother/only sibling. He absolutely loved Christmas so I try to enjoy it FOR him-as I know that is what he would want me to do. xoDiana

  3. You are wise and kind all at the same time. Sharing this on Facebook.

  4. Yes at my age I know this grief also
    I guess we all will go through it sometime in our life
    but it very hard to deal with.
    I was very close to my maternal Grandmother and when she died,well I lost my best friend my second Mother since I lived with her till I was 14, oh well as they say time goes on however not without pain after losing such a close family member.
    My husband died with Alzheimer I was 59 when he died, still a widow

    Merry Christmas

  5. My mom and I were just talking today about Christmas without my dad. He passed 2-1/2 years ago, and that first Christmas I decorated more than ever because I knew he would love it. Everyone grieves differently...

  6. Thank you Susan. I really needed this reminder to just let my grief happen this year. I lost my brother last year on Dec 23rd and already Mom and I are feeling the pain as we approach that date. I am lucky to have two extra special distractions, my Grandkids, to help me enjoy the month. Still underneath I'm mourning. Sending hugs!

  7. Susan, your post is lovely and oh, so true. I'm glad you are moving on through the grief and are able to enjoy the holidays more this year. Thank you for shining your light on others!

  8. The holidays are tough for many friends this year. I lost an aunt & a cousin. I lost 2 precious friends to cancer. Then Christmas Day, 2 friends lost a parent. I stop & remember those who left their earthly life to where I'll see them again. I sit in the quiet & think of the 12 yo IG friend who beat cancer, which she announced just before Christmas. With only peach fuzz on her head for now, we know she will walk & ride her bike again. I know those who left the earthly life ate whole again. No matter how,many tears I shed, I know my hurt & loss will ease. I will always miss my aunts who died in 2011. I know I have a permanent reminder of the last memorial service for Daddy's baby sister, a great niece & great granddaughter arrived that night. A sign that a part of them lives on through us.


Oliver and I LOVE and read every comment.


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