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A Plea for the Broken-Hearted at the Holidays

November 22, 2018

When you’ve lost someone important to your life, every holiday approaches with equal parts anticipation and dread.

A life lost abruptly or violently or prematurely — it only magnifies this phenomenon. Even the most stalwart mental fortitude cannot help but hear faint whispers around the edges. If…

If she were here…
If he had lived…
If I had not….

We stuff them down, packing noise and duty into the void to silence the hurtful whispers, but the scars we bear are only faintly healed.

This time of year, there are so many memories.

They’re everywhere, in every window and spoonful. In every box and bow. It’s inescapable.

Be it five years or ten, a lifetime or a heartbeat, the scars still split at the slightest touch. These holidays will, forever, be etched in love and anguish.

Please, I beg you. Do not look down on us, the broken, the ones who bear these fragile wounds that never fully heal. We are not weak. We are not flawed.

We are strong. We have survived. In spite of pain, in spite of grief, in spite of loss — we keep on living, and doing, and merrymaking. Don’t ask too many questions. We’re leaking a bit, beneath that smile. We’re cradling a carefully-assembled facade and if you push too far it might crack open and all that hurt is going to spill out all over again.

Just give us a hug or a pat on the back. Tell us you remember. Don’t be offended if we quickly turn away.

It’s the best we can do.

She would have been 70 on Monday. Thanksgiving was a holiday that belonged to her, often falling on her birthday. It’s impossible to separate the day from the memories. It’s impossible not to wonder what might have been, what it could have been like, if she had lived.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Charlotte permalink
    November 22, 2018 3:57 pm

    You’re not alone cousin. Dad’s birthday was also in November. And died in November, just days before Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad’s anniversary was December 23. With mom’s memory and health failing, I don’t do the holidays very well.

  2. pastordt permalink
    November 23, 2018 5:29 pm

    Lovely, true, and helpful. Nice to see your name in my inbox again!!

  3. November 25, 2018 10:47 am

    Thanks for helping us understand. You ARE strong!

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