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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Grief and the first Christmas

Outside there are lights glowing. They are hung around windows and along fences. They are inside too. Twinkling greens and reds and whites probably hug a tree in your living room. At the same time, there is darkness.

You can’t see it from your comfy couch, from the seat next to the fireplace near the twinkling lights. This darkness is inside my house. It festers inside of me. The flow of circulation, the beat that pushes blood, the exhale that forces the inhale—it is all gone and replaced with darkness so deep that I’m still falling, yet to hit the jagged floor. I give up. I give up already. You have won, Darkness, and I surrender. Anything you want, I give. Take it all. Just give me my son back. He died in October, and I have suffered enough. How do I make my 11-year-old son's death undo itself? How do I make his failed heart operation a success?
My son died.
And then there were three...

You’ve stolen from a mother’s arms. Stolen love from a younger brother’s heart. Stolen friendship from a boy who catches the ball, who always pulls his friend’s backpack. Stolen a companion from the siblings whose tribe is broken and uneven without their brother, the boy with the faulty heart.

I avoided Halloween as I prepared for my son’s memorial; I avoided Thanksgiving by ignoring it, any nearby merriment drowned out by the reliable ocean smacking the beach near our campervan again and again and again. But not Christmas. It came into my house. The tree’s branches punctured my lungs and made them weep. Darkness drips from those wounds.

This is Christmas, friends. So this is Christmas.


  1. Anonymous10:26 AM

    Santa f-d up at our house, too. More tears for you, for me, for the kid who caught the ball. Peace.

    1. I know there was no right way, in the same way that people want to say the right thing, but it often comes out wrong. It was a struggle to find a way to honor my feelings that every Christmas--especially this year--would be different, and at the same time also honor my other children's feelings to be excited for Christmas. Both are valid.