It’s been hard to place my feelings lately. Until today, I didn’t know what to call it, this odd mix of rage and grief and hope and nostalgia and disappointment swirling around inside my head. But as I sat in my car this morning and Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas” came on the radio and tears started streaming down my cheeks, I finally understood.

I’ve been mourning.

Mourning what the holidays were supposed to look like this year. Mourning the traditions I’ve been looking forward to and the experiences I was planning to share with the people I love.

Mourning the incredible brokenness of our country, and its people. Mourning how divided we are and how far apart we have grown, both literally and figuratively.

Mourning the ease and convenience with which we used to be able to come together. The control and certainty over our own plans and schedules that we took for granted.

Mourning the predictable and safe and consistent parts of our lives that have been flipped completely upside down.

Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can’t I hear music play

My world is changing
I’m rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

I’m mourning the loss of the person I was just one short year ago. She feels like a stranger to me now. I’m mourning her confidence and assuredness. I’m mourning her faith and unwavering conviction that things always work out for the best.

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I’m not the same one
See what the time’s done
Is that why you have let me go

We have lost so much this year—it has seemed insurmountable at times. It’s so difficult not to feel cheated, robbed.

It takes everything in me to keep my heart from hardening to stone and bitter resentment from spilling over.

But every once in a while, often when I least expect it, I’m reminded that the most important things can’t be taken away from us, no matter how the world feels like it’s crumbling around us or people continue to let us down.

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

There she is. Right when I need her. Stubborn and relentless and incorrigible and downright painful, but I’ll be damned if she doesn’t always show up, even if it’s at the most inconvenient time, even if I happen to be gulping back big, ugly, racking sobs in the parking lot of the local library—

Hope.

Oh, I feel you Christmas
I know I’ve found you
You never fade away, oh
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

So if you need a moment to ugly-cry in your car this season while you blast Faith Hill and mourn everything that 2020 has taken from you, and mourn the holidays you had envisioned for your family, and mourn the expectations and desires and visions you have only just started to let go . . .

I hope you take it.

But then I hope you listen to that faint, gentle voice in the back of your mind—the one that’s gotten smaller and softer, but refused to leave you completely alone this whole year.

The one that finds a way to be heard, even at the moments you aren’t prepared to welcome it.

The voice that tells you what matters most will always be the love we hold in our hearts, and the love we pour into the people who matter.

And nothing—not even 2020—can take that away.

PS: Dear Holiday Season, We Need You This Year More Than Ever

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.

Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom to two toddlers, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard along with the good. You can find more from her on her Facebook page, Shower Arguments.