Do me a favor... don't tell me "Merry Christmas." It actually makes me shudder right now. It makes me feel like you have NO idea what my life is like right now. Recognize that my Christmas isn't going to be all that merry. Instead, here is what I am hoping for: "I simply pray that in the midst of the pain you find moments of joy. Moments when the pressure on your chest lightens, the knot in your throat eases, anxiety lifts, and hope peeks through."
Someone in my support group commented that Christmas is so challenging for the grieving because everyone else is so fucking happy.
And then there's the happy family Christmas photo cards that we're getting in the mail. I had thought Lydia's birth announcement would double as a Christmas card. And now I realize that we'll never ever have a complete family photo. We'll even never get both our children in the same picture. We'll always be missing one.
So do me another favor, if you're going to send us one of those happy family Christmas cards, please at least acknowledge our loss and our pain. Please don't send me your happy, smiley children wishing me a merry Christmas.
I had this thought already and then read this:
"When I opened the first batch of cards, shock washed over me. Photos
of beautiful, happy, intact families cascaded onto my kitchen table.
Most were accompanied by a greeting wishing me a joyous Christmas. Others included a standard family newsletter, listing the
accomplishments, vacations, and delightful family moments that had
filled their year. I
grew astonished, then angry, as I realized that none of the cards
mentioned that our precious Matthew had died violently six months
earlier, leaving us definitely not having a joyous Christmas.
later, I tore through them, angry tears pouring down my cheeks as I
separated them into three piles: ones that didn’t mention our grief,
ones that did so with a short, “Praying for you,” and ones that included
soothing, loving, and thoughtful words of compassion and empathy. The
third stack was the smallest.
If you aren’t willing to modify your way of sending cards for a while, please do us a favor and take us off your list."
I guess I'll end by echoing that sentiment. I don't necessarily want to be off your list, but I do want you to acknowledge that this Christmas - and perhaps every Christmas in years to come - will only emphasize our loss. I want you to acknowledge that we're hurting. I want you to mention my daughter by name. And if you're not willing to make that extra effort while writing your cards, then it's probably best that you don't include us at all.
And please, don't wish me a Merry Christmas.