Christmas Cards-Yes? No? Maybe?

Getting Christmas cards out on time was always a challenge in my busy household.  

So for the last years of kids at home, we transitioned to sending New Year’s greetings.  It was easier to get a family photo with everyone home for Christmas, there was no artificial deadline to send them and we could include a “thank you” or respond to news in their Christmas letters.

I haven’t sent anything for three years.  

What could I say?  

And a family photo was out of the question.

But faithful friends and relatives keep sending us theirs.  

As I was looking at them this past week, I decided to make a go of it one more time.  I sat down and pecked away at the computer keys until I composed something that felt right.

HERE’S WHAT I WROTE:

“Hello from the DeSimones!

For anyone counting, it has been three years since our last Christmas/New Year’s update.

I just could not figure out how to send greetings when our hearts were so very wounded and sore.  I’m still not sure how to do it-but am plunging ahead. 

We are learning to live with the absence of Dominic.  We are learning to carry the weight of grief and sorrow that burden our hearts.  We are managing the necessary tasks of life.  We are moving forward in careers and education.  We live and love and even laugh.

It’s not the same.

It will never be the same. 

And that’s a testimony to our enduring love for Dominic and his lasting impact on our lives.

We look forward to heaven, where everything that the enemy has stolen will be redeemed and restored. 

I’ve been reading The Jesus Storybook Bible-it is a remarkable way to re-imagine and re-engage with God’s Story.  My very favorite part is a paraphrase of Revelation 21:4:

‘And the King says, “Look! God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying.  Because all those things are gone.  Yes, they are gone forever.  Everything sad has come untrue.  And see-I have wiped every tear from every eye!”‘

[Here I inserted updates on each of us under the title “newsy bits”]

We are thankful for each one who has encouraged us, loved us and stuck with us in this journey.

It’s our prayer that this Christmas season the Saviour will fill your hearts-hurting or happy-to overflowing with His love, grace and mercy.” 

You may not be ready to send Christmas cards. Maybe next year, or maybe never and that’s OK.

I’m sharing so that perhaps my words can help you find a way to tell your family’s story.  

Christmas for those of us missing a child we love will always be different.  It will always be tinged with sadness.

But we are stronger together.

We can hang on harder when others hang on with us.

I appreciate each person who reads this blog and takes time to comment.

Thank  you for encouraging, loving and sticking with me in this journey.  

May the God of all hope fill your hurting hearts with hope as we wait together for our faith to be made sight.

 

 

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

26 thoughts on “Christmas Cards-Yes? No? Maybe?”

  1. Thank you Melanie, for taking the time to write so that so many others may be encouraged. My husband and I lost our 15 year old some Chaz suddenly in April. Sometimes the darkness and sadness threatens to overtake us. I am so grateful for your posts, which I’ve been reading for about 6 months now. They give me hope, help me know I’m not alone, that I’m not going crazy, help me have grace for myself and my family, and point me back to Jesus, who I know has everything I need. I’m so sorry for your loss of Dominic. Your love for him is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your broken heart so others like myself might be encouraged to hold on tighter to Jesus, and learn to find their way on this painful road that none of us wish we were on. We are on it together, and together is better than alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I am so, so sorry for your pain and your loss. This is a hard journey but you are absolutely right: knowing we are not traveling alone makes such a difference! Of course we know God is with us, but flesh and blood representations of His heavenly love can be a candle in the darkness.

      Praying that the Lord will overwhelm your hurting heart with His love, grace and mercy and will continue to guide you. ❤

      Like

  2. Our son, John Paul went home before us a week after his 25th birthday in November 2015. Before we knew it the holidays were upon us and we were just emerging from the ‘brain anesthesia’ of the first 6 weeks of shock. Earlier that year, I had ordered some creative card kits for my daughter and I to make for the Christmas greetings that year, but that did not happen for 2015. The following year, 2016, I had finally re-read through the many cards and Facebook messages that we had received offering condolences and felt prompted from a full heart, to thank all our precious friends who had covered us in prayer that year. So I sent ‘thank you’ messages in time for Thanksgiving and gave Christmas greetings at the same time. I did wind up sending some Christmas cards as well…but the part that was hard for me was how to sign the cards, especially since some of those contacts may not be aware of our loss. That year, we signed the cards ourselves with the added notation “with John in our hearts, always” and I hand-drew a heart around John’s name… I have always loved writing and staying in contact with folks and used to do birthday, anniversary, holiday cards (before family and business life took over!) but over the past years I find myself returning to this ministry. I do not yield to the pressure of it all anymore (some years I even sent the cards I had begun to write at Christmas the following year, New Years and beyond…jokingly true…even for Christmas in July one year) This year I did a few Thanksgiving notes and even though we are into December already, I believe I will do greetings this Christmas, maybe in the form of a short letter. I have a storage bin of ‘collected cards’ that I have accumulated over the years, purchased after the holidays for the ‘next’ year that never got used… so I need to put them to good use and let those in our world know that we think of them all year long, especially at this wonderful season of promise… Jesus Christ, our Saviour is born!

    I believe the important thing for everyone to remember is that your heart will let you know how to go about the holidays after loss, follow after peace and know that I am praying for grace for you in your journey… May the grace and peace of our Lord minister comfort to all of you at this time and tenderly, gently restore your joy ❤

    Like

  3. I’ve just been introduced to your blog by my best friend. I am thankful to read about the same thoughts that I feel. I lost my precious son 7 months ago Tuesday. I have not sent cards this year, had Christmas with my other children early and closed myself off at the beach for the rest of the Christmas week from family and friends. But funny thing is.. I want it!!!! I hate this Holiday season right now and do not want to feel Anything! I just want my baby back!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so fresh in your grief Kristal-it is absolutely OK to not do anything this year. Be kind to yourself, grant the mercy and grace you would extend to others, to your own hurting heart. Praying that God gives you strength for each new day. This is hard. I am so very sorry for your pain and loss.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve learned to do what feels right for me at a particular moment. This is our 2nd Christmas without Jordan and I am more aware of this one than last year. The pain was so shattering last year, it was easy to decide not to do anything for Christmas. Everyone understood. This year is different and I am so conscious to step softly and choose to do things that will not cause me to break. My other sons understand completely and support me in my choices even if it means they get “less” Christmas. Yesterday it was too painful to send out cards but today it was ok so I sent out a couple of cards to a select few to those who aren’t near and to some acquaintances who lost family members this year. Sending compassionate messages felt more right and soothed my heart more than sending cards to friends and pretending things were “ok” . You are so brave, Melanie, to say it like it is. Perhaps next year I will be so brave too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are brave too, Vera. You are walking with wisdom on this hard, hard path. I’m thankful your family understands. And the messages you sent to those who are missing ones they love will be that much more precious because they come from someone who understands.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is wonderful. This is our 2nd Christmas without our girl, Jordan. I do love getting Christmas cards still, but with bittersweetness. I cannot fathom sending them out just yet, maybe never.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My 21 yo son posted a pic yesterday of he & his older sister at 1 & 3 yo, telling her to Have a Merry Christmas with our Savior. I’m crying again just typing this.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. It’s your journey and whatever you decide is OK, Jennifer. I am so sorry for your pain and loss. There’s no easy way to walk this path. Each of us do the best we can. Praying that the Lord floods your hurting heart with His grace, love and mercy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is our first Christmas without Philip. As we blunder along trying to find some peace for our little family, we are comforted by your words. I’m managing to avoid my son’s favorite traditions and replace those with something new…I’m not feeling much success, but need to do it for all of us. He would want that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Melanie … those were beautiful words you wrote and reminded me that I must try to find a little more beauty and a little less anger. I didn’t send cards this year … maybe next year. Wishing you a very peaceful Christmas

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thx Melanie for writing about your feelings as a mom who has lost a child. I read every post u write. Unfortunately I can relate w/ so many of them. We have sent Xmas cards out this yr even though we just lost our prescious Lilli in Aug. She had just turned 16 & didn’t want to stop treatmt or die even though she had suffered thru 5 yrs of brutal treatmt for Ewing’s sarcoma. She loved life & wanted to try anything that would allow her to keep living even though so much had been taken by the cancer. I decided I wanted to find the most recent pic of our family where she was smiling & happy. That’s how everyone remembers her & that’s how she would want to be remembered. So we found a pic from when we went to Universal Studios in March. Deciding to send cards wasn’t difficult this yr but I think next yr will be a different story. Big hugs Kay

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you for sharing with us. We lost our son Nick, age 23, this May of 2016. Your journey has helped us with ours. I am pretty sure my Nick and your Dominic are kindred spirits enjoying the light and love in heaven. They both left with too much life and too much joy to give. I appreciate the way you expose yourself to help those who follow behind to be able to feel those raw emotions we really need to feel and to understand we are not alone in this journey. Your words speak truth to us. Even though they are not always convenient or easy to read or to absorb, they are a salve to our burned souls. Thank you for exposing yourself and sharing your journey with us. Jeff

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jeff, I’m sorry that you live with this awful loss as well. I’m thankful the blog is helpful to you. This is a hard, hard journey and trying to walk alone makes it even harder. I pray that you feel the Lord’s Presence close this Christmas and that He continues to strengthen you for each new day. May we all finish strong.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for your words.
    It actually helps and encourages me to continue on this journey and try to smile. Last year I lost my only daughter to cancer at 33. Also my darling husband of 43 years to Alzheimer’s.
    Two horrible diseases that never ran in our family. It’s been a very
    Difficult two years for me. Nothing in my life is the same as before.
    I have hope for this next year.
    May God bless and keep you and your family close in 2017- gloria olson

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Two great losses! I am so very sorry for your pain. Of course nothing is the same! How could it be? Praying that the Lord floods your hurting heart with His grace, love and mercy. May you feel Him close to you and may He strengthen you for each day.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s