Christmas is a time for family, friends, and joy. It's a time to give and celebrate and take a break from the stress of the world. Music plays in every store, home, and car and vibrant lights are around every corner. It's hard for your spirits not to be uplifted during this time. Unless this time, this year, this specific Christmas, there's something, or rather someone, missing.
I have lost people before. Truly loved ones who I still miss every single day. And I have survived a number of holidays without them, hard as it was. But this year feels harder. Maybe it's because her absence is so immense in my life; I can be in a room full of people and still be so keenly aware that she's not around. Perhaps it's because Christmas without her coming down the stairs, laughing at silly gifts, and asking when my mom was going to make tea just doesn't seem like Christmas at all. Or maybe it's simply because Christmas makes me think about family, and family isn't the same without her.
I know I'm not alone. There are thousands of people, probably millions, who are celebrating their first Christmas without someone special. I find comfort in that, and yet my heart breaks knowing that there are others feeling the pain that I feel. In fact, in the days leading up to this holiday, I have come to realize that there are many contradictions in this situation. They say there's a thin line between love and hate. Well, as long and wide as the spectrum may be, opposite feelings always seem to attract each other at the strangest and sometimes most inconvenient of times.
So, as I write this with her smile in mind, I want to reach out to anyone who may be going through this with me. I want you to know that i understand how even saying "Merry Christmas" seems wrong because it doesn't seem "merry" at all. If you find yourself singing along to your favorite Christmas tune one minute and then crying the next because they would have been singing along with you, don't be ashamed because I get it. I'm right by your side on the nights when you see a beautifully decorated store front or wonderfully lit house and you can't look at it for too long. The most beautiful image or view can make you so grateful to be alive and then angry the next. You want to appreciate every moment and take nothing for granted because not to would be a dishonor to them. But it's damn hard. It's hard because every freshly baked cookie, classic Christmas movie, and stuffed stocking won't bring them back. And on this Christmas day, all you want is more time with them.
We're all going to wake up on Christmas morning and feel an emptiness that no one deserves to feel on such a special day. But maybe there's also a thin line between mourning and celebrating. And while we're far apart and may never meet, together we can find the joy that this holiday brings with the people we are so, so lucky to spend it with. And while that emptiness isn't going anywhere, maybe little drops of love and light will find their way in.