To my friend who would rather not do Christmas this holiday season,

I want you to know I see you.

I may not know what it is like to walk in your shoes. I can’t understand the grief you are feeling right now. But my heart hurts for you. 

Are the lights, the sounds and the smells all painful reminders of what is missing? Do they take you to place in your mind where you wish you could go? Instead of seeing what is before you, do you see what is no longer? 

To my friend who has lost her spouse. To my friend whose marriage is crumbling. To my friend who is now divorced. To my friend whose children are all grown and gone from the home. To my friend who is spending this Christmas in the hospital, at the bedside of a loved one. To my friend who has lost her mother. Her father. Her sister. Her brother. Her child. 

I am sorry for the pain you are feeling this holiday season. 

I know I cannot take that pain away, but I would at least like to acknowledge it. 

I believe it’s okay if you don’t feel like doing Christmas this year.

It’s okay if instead of wanting to drive around and look at lights or bake cookies or attend a Christmas party – you would rather be alone.

It’s okay if unwrapping an ornament brings you to your knees and fills your eyes with tears. It’s okay if it all feels like too much. 

It’s okay if you are ready for it all to be over. 

It’s okay if you are merely going through the motions. Maybe you have children and you want to give them the feeling and joy of Christmas, but at the end of the day after they are tucked in bed – you look around and are overwhelmed with grief. You are left to cry. Wondering when the feeling of “normal” will return. 

I would imagine it probably comes and goes like tidal waves. Rushing in and out and back again. Moments of joy and then moments of sadness. 

I have not walked in your shoes, but I hope you know it’s okay to have both.

Feeling joyful isn’t a betrayal of what you have lost. And feeling sadness, I believe, is at times inevitable. 

I see you, my friend. 

I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry for what you have gone through. 

You may feel alone, but you are not alone. 

Your friends. Your family. Your neighbors. We want to be there for you. We want you to know we love you. We want you to know we care. 

While this is the best time of the year for some, for others – it is hard. Very. Very. Hard. 

To my friend who would rather not do Christmas this holiday season, I know this is hard for you.

I want you to know I see you. 

I know I can’t take away your pain. I know I can’t make it better.

But I at least want you to know I am sorry. 

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