To my friend who would rather not do Christmas this year,

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 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 OK if you don’t feel like doing Christmas this year.

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

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

It’s OK 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 OK to have both.

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

I see you, my friend. 

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

You may feel alone, but you are not alone. 

Friends, family, 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 year, 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. 

Originally published on the author’s blog

Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson is a freelance writer, preschool art teacher, interior designer and mother of four with a heart for Jesus. Her work can be found on a number of blogs and parenting publications. Recently relocated from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee. She is a passionate storyteller and believes every person has an important story to tell. We grow when we share. And even more when we listen.