Blue Christmas

Grieving through the holidays
A few years ago, if I’d had my druthers for Christmas, I would have put a paper bag over my head on December 1, crawled under the bed and hidden out until Christmas was over—perhaps until Christmas 2007.

Fred, my husband of 17 years, had died in April, and I could hardly stand the thought of Advent, with its talk about hope and expectation, let alone the holly-jolly, joy-to-the-world celebration of Christmas. Grief can debilitate a person in ordinary times. In extraordinary times, such as the holidays, it can obliterate.

I couldn’t afford to be obliterated. I have two daughters, each of whom has gone forth and multiplied. However deep my despair, I wanted my grandchildren to observe and understand that life and people do go on, even in the midst of grief. Children aren’t much interested in nuance, but they know that if Grandma doesn’t put up a Christmas tree, the world has ended. I had no choice.


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