Sunday, December 21, 2014

Do me a favor...

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.
...Weeks 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.


  1. I am sorry that this Christmas, that was supposed to be so magical for you and your family, will be so hard. I assume there will be mixed emotions, but a dominate emotion being pure sadness.
    I know we talked before I sent my card because I struggled with the right thing to do. Do I not send one at all knowing it would be hard for you to see my "perfect" family, do I get a generic Christmas card and just have our names or even better just The Burgei's, or do I just not send one at all. Each option seemed to have its own flaw and I am glad I just asked you, but I still worried (worry) about how that moment would be when you receive it, open it, and the reminder of "it isn't fair" crossed your mind.

    I can't even begin to imagine the pain you have already gone through and I can't imagine that ANYONE close enough to send you a card would want to add to that pain. I feel we are struggling with how to support you and knowing what is the right thing to say or do. Not that it is your issue to help us out with that.
    I appreciate knowing how you feel and it is nice that I can catch a glimpse of your daily life, living without Lydie, in order to try to be a better friend for you.
    You, Justin, and Ben are very loved by so many and you all have a special place in my heart.
    Love you!

  2. Lydie will continue to be very loved too...I didn't mean to leave her off that last line as an exclusion it was just that I know for the 3 of you it will be a hard to get through the holiday's because she is not with you.

    1. Tara, you are so good about always checking with me and asking me for direction when you're not sure what to say or do. I so appreciate that. We did get several Christmas cards from friends and family members who we have not even heard from since Lydie died (and they certainly know) where they just wrote "Merry Christmas!" and signed their names. That really frustrates me.


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