I don’t like to think of myself as an easily bothered person but the things that are guaranteed to really bother me are: when people chew gum like a cow, when you tie your hair up in the perfect bun but then realize you’ve missed a piece of hair, door to door sales people, too much sugar in my coffee but the guiltiest convict of them all is writers block. I’ve been struggling for the last 2 weeks on what I was going to write my blog post on. I had multiple ideas on different topics that I really wanted to focus on but none of them seemed right due to Christmas being around the corner. It’s the perfect time to write about ‘the spirit of giving’, generosity, family and the birth of Christ and how he gave us the ultimate gift. All of these things are of course true, but none of them were on my mind. Christmas for me is much different than most people because on December 24th 2014, my father died.
I’ve decided to write an open letter to any child who’s lost a parent around Christmas because it’s probably the topic that most people want to avoid. I find that a lot of people treat me like I’m made of glass. They’re afraid to talk about Christmas around me and I think that it would be the same for any other child who has lost a parent around Christmas. It’s hard under normal circumstance to accept the loss of a loved one but it’s unimaginably harder when it happens around Christmas time and only people who have been through it will be able to understand exactly how hard it is. I often feel guilty for not wanting to participant in anything Christmas related. I don’t want to listen to Christmas music, I don’t want to go to church, I don’t want to go shopping or look at the lights or listen to the sleigh bells in the mall anymore. I want to shut it all off but there are no self-help pamphlets on “How to ignore the Christmas season.” I feel guilty that my boyfriend has been going to all the Christmas events that we would typically spend together, alone. I feel guilty that I had to ask for 4 extra days off from work this month. I feel guilty that my boyfriend asked me to help organize a carolling event with him and I said no, and I feel guilty because I’m trying to skip Christmas while everyone else still very much wants to participate. I think it’s fair to say that most children who have lost a parent around Christmas feel very similar to the way I do. Every piece of joy that was once there has melted away like snow and all of my snow melted last Christmas Eve.
There are very few things that I still find joy in this Christmas, and one of them is God. God has helped me through this whole year. He picked me up when I though there was no way I could go back to school or work or life in general. He picked me up and told me to do all the things I was doing before, because my dad would have wanted me to. God has helped me so much from the beginning of this year to the end and now it’s my turn to help somebody else who has been through the same thing as me by telling them that they should not feel guilty. Don’t feel guilty for missing Christmas dinner or the gift exchange. Don’t feel guilty for not sending Christmas cards, attending the Christmas concert, cooking the turkey or making cookies this year. Do not feel guilty for any of it because you are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to be upset and you are allowed to cry.
Dear child who has lost a loved one around Christmas,
I am so sorry for your loss. Truly, I am. I know how it feels to have a life taken away from you like money being snatched out of your hand. Christmas time is a time of joy, love and giving but you do not need to feel guilty for wanting to be sad. God gave you emotions for a reason. You are allowed to show them and not care what anybody has to say about them. You are not made of glass. You are allowed to cry, and it will not break you. God is taking care of you and knows what you are going through especially when it seems like nobody else does. You were loved by the one you lost and you are still loved by those who are still here with you. God will NEVER give you something that you cannot handle. If the Christmas tree doesn’t want to come out of the basement this year than let it stay there. You are allowed to be upset and God will love you even if you don’t dust off the Christmas tree this year.
The girl who learned she is not made of glass.