When The Ache is All You Feel This Christmas

{image: Yanming Zhang / 123RF Stock Photo}

{image: Yanming Zhang / 123RF Stock Photo}

I see you, friend. The one who is hiding this Christmas season.

You smile and laugh at a party and go home, get into your sweats, curl up in a ball and fall asleep. Tears may or may not accompany the falling, but a lot of the time they do. The tears actually accompany most of your life these days. They well up at inconvenient times. Running down your cheeks as you read a story with your child. Falling into the dishwater as you scrub the mashed potatoes from the pan. Mixing in with the makeup you put on before attending the holiday gathering where, if you said what you felt, people would do what they do. . . look dumbfounded, look with pity, look angry at you for still struggling.

I see you, precious friend.

I see the ways you are trying to make the holiday special for those you love. How you rallied to decorate your house, those cookies for your daughter’s party, the school gingerbread project with your kindergartener. The ways you tenderly brush curls from your child’s head at night after they’ve fallen asleep, tears quietly inching down your cheeks, as you pray they would be happy—that they would know the deep joy of this season—even if you stand outside it.

I see you. I ache with you.

I see the way you read the Bible, read the Christmas story, know God is God and God is love, and wonder if you’ll ever feel that truth seep into your tired bones again. Your faith unwavering, you press into scripture, into truth. You read and listen to worship music and cry out to God wondering, “Is this all there is to loving you, Lord? Will I ever leave this place of bearing down in sheer emotionless obedience and find the joy unspeakable that you promise in your word?”

I see you, beautiful one. You are not alone.

When you shop amongst happy others wishing Merry Christmas and feel outside the mirth.

When you sit in a room or around a table with family and friends and wonder if you’re the only one who’s struggling to breathe.

When you open the Christmas card with the smiling family and wrestle with equal desires to smile and rip the thing to shreds.

When you hear Christmas music and remember the hopes you had in Christmases past and feel schizophrenic in your nostalgia and desire to scream from grief.

I see you. I love you. We’re in this together. We will get through this. We will.

And when we do, we will celebrate. Together.

– Laurie

P.S. If you happen to be grieving in part because of the challenges of raising a child with special needs (like I am), my new book is for you. Read the first chapters here.