Give This Letter to the People Who Invite You Over During the Holidays


What do you say to someone who lost the love of their life and they have to go through the Holiday season on their own?

What?

What do you say to them?

You don’t say I am sorry.

You don’t just invite them to mindless dinners.

You don’t ask them how can I help.

And please don’t assume that because they are with you and not alone at home they must be better off.

That you have done what you could and got them out of the house.

I know, I know. It sounds not so nice of me to say.

But I know you want the truth, I know you care about the person in your life who has lost so much.

And you wonder what is the best thing to do.

Well, when they are surrounded by people who have everything they don’t, it hurts them.

Please do invite them over of course, but be mindful, the joy of the holidays brings sorrow.

It reminds them of what they don’t have multiplied by one thousand.

So when they walk in, greet them by smiling in a knowing way.

Talk about the person who passed.

Be the friend or the family member who is not afraid to hang with them and talk.

And no small talk please.   

The only thing required is your presence.

True presence.

See them.

Look them in the eyes.

Hold their hands.

Put your arms around them when they are pretending to smile.

Show them that you see their pain.

Don’t run away from those moments.

In the mindless moments of this Holiday season, the person who is grieving is lost even more. (Click to Tweet!)

When happy music is playing, they will often go to the bathroom to cry.

You don’t have to be like everyone else lost in your own festivities.

Look for them especially when everyone is talking about politics or making stupid jokes about the weather.

Reach out then.

I guess what I am asking for is your courage to be present with their grief when everyone else is festive.

I know, it is not an easy thing to ask for.

Casseroles and gifts would have been easier than giving them your soul.

Your eyes. Your embrace.

But I know you can do this. Be with them like nobody else will.

With gratitude,

Christina

P.S. My love is with you in the next few days. We got this.

Comments

  1. Christina, you are almost there with your letter. As a person who has lost the love of her life, please let me make a comment. I have found that participating fully in other people’s joys and festivities provides me with a brief “vacation” from my own sorrows. I prefer to walk into a party to find everyone festive, happy and joking – not hushing up because I have appeared. Those brief “vacations” make chinks in the wall of sorrow and help it to weaken and crumble. Putting other people before yourself, giving forth a hearty laugh at someone’s joke – these are strengtheners. Joy to the World, I say!

    • I agree… the escape(s), actually give me hope that someday again I will share these happy feelings with others. I may be on wobbly steps right now, but everyday a little stronger in my quest.

  2. MY HUSBAND DIED A WEEK AGO. MY DAUGHTER WANTS ME TO DRIVE ON ICY ROADS 4 HOURS EACH WAY TO BE WITH THEM. I HAVE TWO SMALL GRANDCHILDREN THERE WHO PROBABLY WONT’ EVE NOTICE IF I’M NOT THERE. I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’LL SLEEP,I AM IN TREPIDATION, ESPECIALLY SINCE I AM SO COMFORTABLE HERE AT HOME WHERE I FEEL SAFE. I AM ALONE, BUT SAFE.

    • My beloved husband died Nov 15 this year and I did drive 3 hours one way to spend Thanksgiving with children and young grandchildren the next week . I was numb and sad and cried all the way home the next day but glad I went as moments of joy can be found; even in grief. For Christmas, all children and grandchildren came home but same experience was had by me even in my house of comfort. So sad when they left but happy memory moments to think about as well.

  3. Be true to yourself and where you feel safe at this time. Driving can be stressful. Take care of yourself. Watch a movie read something light and easy.stay in your pajamas all day. I have had a lot of loss in my life and these are things that have helped me along with journal writing everyday to get down my thoughts and get them out of my head. Feel free to write me. I am here and remember when Marty wrote me back how ir helped me. Grief is real.

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Christina Rasmussen

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