The month of December isn’t always “merry and bright” for everyone. For those that feel blue this season; here is some encouragement…

My Blue Christmas

By Pat Heckman

Well, Thanksgiving is over, so that means the Christmas holidays are now just around the corner. What does that mean to you? For some, it means time spent shopping and baking and wrapping gifts. It means Christmas parties, decorating and family. But for others, the Christmas holidays mean something else. It means a time of year when you may not feel joyous, merry and bright, but instead a feeling of sadness, loneliness and depression. For the people who feel this way, there is a term they during the holiday season. It is called a “Blue Christmas”.

People can experience a “Blue Christmas” for many reasons. Most often it is due to a recent loss they have experienced during the year. This loss can come from the death of a loved one, especially during the holiday season. It can also be a loss of job or a loss of health. Whatever the loss is, those experiencing the loss may have a difficult time being merry at this time of year.

It actually happened to me many years ago, the Christmas of 1978. I was only nineteen at the time. I was one of six children in my family. We ranged in age from 21 to 13 years old. That past summer my mother died at the age of 48 from cancer. The grief was compounded by the death of my older brother only ten months prior to hers. My Blue Christmas probably began during the Thanksgiving Day holiday. It was the first major holiday without the both of them and none of us felt like celebrating or giving thanks.

My mother, like for a lot of families, was the center of the family unit. She was the one who made Thanksgiving and Christmas and every other holiday come alive. She made the magic happen for our family. My mom made everyone feel loved and special. When that was taken away all that was left was a huge void. My father was not equipped to handle his grief let alone the grief of five surviving children. Back then there was no family counseling, at least any for us. It was the first of probably five Christmas’ where no one really cared about the holiday, wanted to participate in it or cared if we were all together. I could see the family imploding under the weight of our grief and helpless to do anything about it.

Grief hurts. Grief takes away your strength. Grief suffocates you with the feeling of sadness all the time. I felt isolated and alone even when the rest of my family surrounded me. How was I to cope and make sense of that last year of my life? It was a very difficult time in my life. I didn’t want to enjoy the holidays. I just wanted to survive the holidays.

You may find yourself this year having your own Blue Christmas. If you are please take heart. I and my other Stephen Ministers at Simpsonwood want to help you get through your holidays. We are available to listen to you, to pray for you, to walk along side of you in your grief. I want to help you if you are finding this Christmas to be more “blue” than “white”. Just call Rev. Amanda or myself so we can help.

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