This will be my third Christmas since my daughter was stillborn and it hurts that she’s not here. For three years I have known the heartache of balancing grief and joy during the holiday season. I have learned a lot about how to cope during the holidays, so it seems like it shouldn’t hurt so much. But, it does hurt so much and I often find myself wondering–why?
Because I won’t just miss her this Christmas–it’s that I will be missing her for every Christmas.
I will never again know a Christmas where she is physically present. She and I no longer have the chance to experience the holiday season together. Christmastime echoes with her absence and those echoes will linger forever. That’s why it hurts so much.
It’s not just the grief that I carry this holiday season; it’s knowing that I will carry this grief for every holiday season to come.
Even though I am better at advocating for my needs and protecting my heart, I still feel the deep heartache of a holiday without my daughter. There are so many who have stepped forward to ease my heartache.
But here’s the thing about grief–others can help ease its burden, but I will never be able to put it down.
I will always carry grief because my daughter will always be dead. I will never again experience a day on this Earth where she is living. My lifetime is now meant to be lived without her and I will never know why. That’s why it hurts so much.
This hurt that I carry doesn’t mean that I am incapable joy. My holidays still have space for joy and I am hopeful they always will. It’s just that my holidays now hold grief and because of that there will always be less room for joy.
So, to those who are grieving, I want you to know that I understand. I know that this holiday season hurts.
I also know that the hurt comes from knowing that this is not the only holiday that your loved one will be missing.
It can be hard to find the emotional energy to make it through this season, when you know you will have to do it again–next year, tomorrow, every day.
But I also know this: the hurt does not mean you’re broken. The hurt is not a sign of helplessness.
The hurt is there because you love them.
Even though they are gone, you will never stop holding space for them and wishing they were here. That’s a lot for one heart to carry.
And that’s why it hurts so much.