Every year it seems to come earlier.

Trick-or-treaters haven’t even reached out doorstep before Christmas makes its appearance in every store. Elf is on TV on repeat as we make our holiday plans. Target commercials show bright color-coordinated gifts and bellow out a catchy holiday tune as the fall air becomes noticeably crisper. 

I loved every second of it until the Christmas magic left when my mom went to Heaven

The grievers know it’s coming. To us, the holidays can feel like an intrusive visitor who won’t go home. A visitor who unpacks his bags in early October and stays until the first day of January. And we just want to close the door and wait out his exit. We just want to get through these festive months. 

I don’t want to feel this way. Christmas magic will always be my favorite feeling. The twinkling lights on the tree, the way the church looks on Christmas Eve, the looks on our children’s faces, heck even Mariah Carey belting out that song over and over (you know which one).

When Christmas comes and my mother is in Heaven, the lights just shine dimmer.

I know they are the same ones we always put up year after year but they just don’t look the same. Grief is like wearing glasses that make everything look more muted. And at Christmas, it feels even more so.

This is what happens when you lose the one who started all the Christmas magic. 

I am hoping the magic starts to come back as the years go by. I am prepared for it not to ever return as it once was. But how could it? It wouldn’t feel right to not have that ache of missing someone you loved so much this time of year. I will find a special place on my tree to place an ornament with her picture on it. She will always be part of my Christmas traditions and memories I share with her grandchildren. 

And maybe that is all I need right now to help the magic start to come back.

If you’re a mother, you know: everything you do to make Christmas magical for your kids is because your mom made it magical for you first.

Kristie Reitz

I am a mom of 3 kids and a teacher of the visually impaired in Cranberry Twp, PA.