Everything about that first Christmas hurt. Looking at the empty space, knowing that he wasn’t going to walk through the door or that his voice wouldn’t be on the other end of the phone. The whole idea of even celebrating felt unfair after all we had been through just two months before.
His spot at the table was empty and the hole in my heart was too.
My dad’s absence that Christmas changed everything about the holiday. It hung over our heads and filled the room with the weight of a thousand chains pulling us further and further into our pain.
I wish that had been the last Christmas I felt such agony. But I experienced similar aches as I buried grandparents, my brother, and eventually my mother-in-law. The gnawing pain of grief seeps into the moments that should bring us great joy, because grief will always have a seat at the table.
No matter how many holidays come and go, the grief we feel over the loss of loved ones never fades. These seasons, the ones filled with beautiful lights and glittering trees, remind us of how truly great our losses are because these days were made for family.
Nothing magnifies loss more than moments meant to share with those we love.
The question remains, how do we cope here, in this place of horrifying grief? How do we find the joy in Christmas when our hearts ache for what we have lost?
© Getty Images/Kerkez