To Those Who Struggle This Christmas

I’m not writing this to everyone.

I’m writing this to you—the person whose heart is heavy today, the one for whom this day is not merry and bright, the one who doesn’t feel at all like singing.

I’m writing this to you who face subtraction today; who feel the combined attrition of the all losses you’ve accrued this year; the people who’ve died, the ones who left voluntarily, those you’ve had to push away to protect yourself.

I’m writing to you who’ve seen the end of something you loved; the dream that dissolved despite how much you gave up to make it real; all the things that you wish to be true right now and should be true—but are not.

I’m writing to those who’ve watched their best attempts to save their marriages not be enough, who are finding themselves no longer half of the whole they once felt securely part of; those who have a different set of chairs around the table—far too many of them empty.

I’m writing to you who are grieving; those sitting vigil in hospital rooms praying for good news; those who just got test results back and have heard the worst; those who are spending this day planning a memorial service instead of a holiday celebration.

I’m writing to you whose personal demons have gotten the best of you; who’ve been visited at the very worst time by depression and addiction and self-hatred—those whose greatest threat to joy right now is an inside job.

I’m writing this to those who are alone today: geographically separated from the people they love, emotionally distanced from those they desire proximity to, pushed by circumstance to the solitary places.

I’m writing this to those who’ve been left broken by this year; by its cruelty and bitterness and violence—those of you who harbor more anger, carry more grief, and bear more fear because of what you’ve seen and what you know and how you feel about this place you call home.

Ultimately, I’m writing to you, who for a million different reasons find peace difficult to come by in a time when it’s supposed to be plentiful.

I don’t have any magic words to fix what is broken around you or to repair what is broken within you.

I can’t simply place a cursor on the sadness you feel and backspace until it’s deleted, replacing it with words like comfort or peace or contentment.

I can’t say anything in this small space that will mend what is severed, resurrect what has died, or heal what is ill.

I just wanted these words to hopefully remind you of two things:

The first, is that you are not alone; that even though you’re uniquely suffering in the specific sadness you’re inhabiting right now—you are not suffering by yourself. The world is filled with people who are not exactly, but still deeply burdened, grieving, angry, hopeless, exhausted. Even if you never see their faces or know their names, rest in the truth that millions of wounded people stand in solidarity with you in this day—and that they get it. I get it.

The second thing I wanted to remind you of, is that though this is your painful story right now, it is not the end of your story.

The way you feel today will not always be the way you feel. As difficult as it is to imagine in these painful moments—there will be holidays when lightness returns to you; days when you are cultivating new dreams again, when you once more feel secured in a place where you belong, when you again find yourself embraced by people who see and treasure the goodness in you, days when you are easily pushing back your demons.

There will be holidays when celebration is your default setting.

But right now, don’t feel any guilt for the sadness within you.
Don’t beat yourself up for not wanting to sing right now.
Don’t feel pressured to have the shit together that simply isn’t together and won’t be for a while.

Just receive this Christmas as it is, receive it as you are—with all the struggle and uncertainty and grieving it brings.

I’m not writing this to everyone, but if I’ve written this for you, be greatly encouraged.

You are loved.



133 thoughts on “To Those Who Struggle This Christmas

  1. Pingback: Last Minute Free Gift – Andrea Cozette Hatfield's DEAR KITTY : My Journal, My Journey, My Freedom

  2. My daughter has had two excruciating situations in 3 years her husband shot in front of her and and left in a wheelchair forever and part of his brain gone then her being his only caregiver was in a car accident and on life support for some time and disabled to this day she will not leave the house ,broke,no one helping legally ,,,this was very good for me as her mom to understand a little bit better,we pray everyday she will return to us we all support her and love her I will send this article to her thank you for.publishing it

  3. I have felt like this now for years. It never goes away. It just keeps gnawing away until all of the happiness and your passion for loving everything is gone for good.

    • I feel your pain though mine does not compared to yours sweet lady. I also struggle to do that but when your own family is unfeeling it is really hard. I spent last Christmas and New Year’s Eve in years because there I sat alone. The one ones that would have seen me were going away for that week and the Salvatoon turned me down for a Christmas food box. They said the only ones who qualified for a food box were those getting $500 or less (people on Welfare or street people). This despite the fact that I had been eating nothing but porridge for two months and still am. I have $50/o th to buy food with so I bought whatever would stretched the longest and that was porridge.

      When a person is diabetic porridge elevates the blood sugar but I could do nothing about it until my finances bettered themselves. I lost 15 pounds because of it but still did not qualify for it. I also have end-stage cirrhosis from a fatty liver and what they call metabolic syndrome which is combined to create the breakdown of the liver.

      I am now just 10 days over Christmas Day and New Years still on the same diet. Not even the MPP would help as he said they all had their own policies that were obviously going to lessen my life cycle due to poor nuttician, but despite spending most of my working years in various Hospital’s even I could not get help from them.

      How sad this world has become. I do not have anything against our new immigrants but you can be sure they were placed in a much higher class then the people who where born and raised here to the point that we are the new minorityvwho can’t get jobs because the immigrants are still being placed in those first. The have yet to change it back to who was born and raised here. I truly believe under these circumstances that the original citizens here should be caught up to the same level, but it won’t be because new immigrants come every day. It makes me wonder how many there are in their countries areicj less then here.

      Anyway I am a good brainstormed and in time (hopefully I will still be alive) I will think of some way to make everyone’s issues get much better to live with

  4. Thank you for The permission to grieve. It’s dark and lonely but necessary. This was a good cleansing read and thank you for stepping up and writing it.

  5. I certainly don’t want to feel compelled to “shit together” with others. LOLL. Great message but please check for the amusing typo.

  6. Thanks for your article. I needed to hear all of it. I spent today thoroughly alone, 37years old and completely alone. Not because I don’t have wonderful friends and a loving dad but because my dad who I travelled to spend Christmas with was seriously ill with pneumonia. Having lost my husband, my mum and my own health within a couple of years of each other, a couple of years ago I have really strugglee the last few years and begun to dread Christmas and other holidays.

    Seeing photos and posts all over social media today of families gathering and gorgeous meals I just felt utterly alone and miserable. Your writing has really helped. We all have our own stories and burdens but to at least know we are not alone makes a massive difference.
    Thank you thank you thank you

  7. Thank you, my worst times center around this time of year. Inner demons come loose from the childhood abuse. Sense of loneliness and undesirability from divorce 3 years hence, depression, and the external hatred of the right side of our society for who I am. I wonder why I continue, but I know there must be a reason because I refuse to give up..

  8. I was thinking this would be my last time I would spend any holiday alone. Reading and praying I am realizing I made entilited kids and I was going to not let them abuse me physically and emotionally like their dad still does even though we’ve been divorced a long time. Sucide is not the answer. I will and have survived my whole life. Why stop now. God would not forgive me. My kids aren’t worth my life. Got to find a way out of this dark whole.

  9. It’s amazing, you think you’ve dealt with the lies betrayal and everything else that’s been thrown at you. The worst is people saying ” at least you don’t have to deal with her anymore or put up with her anymore” . There wouldn’t be anything to put with had she left like she did. Thanks please remind me more that I deserve someone better.

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