Holiday Grief

Cynthia L. Eppley 12/21/2020

I’ve always known there are “grave blankets”.
But for the first time I noticed “Memory” tree decorations posted on Social Media:

Some refer to our loved ones, and some to our fur babies.
The theology of most of these may be in question. But one thing is certain:
In times of celebration, missing a loved one can be raw and unrelenting.
We notice the empty place at the table. We miss their laughter and special place in our celebrations.
And there is the anticipation of loss even leading up to Christmas, or any holiday for that matter. It is no wonder that by the time Christmas comes around we are exhausted.
And we haven’t even added in Covid.

Social Media

On Social Media, people give voice to many emotions. Hear the ache in this young woman’s heart as she grieves the unexpected loss of her grandmother:

“I have spent every Christmas, for the last 35 years, with my Nanni. When I think about what it’s going to be like this year, without her, I fall into a puddle of tears and can barely catch my breath. I ache for her. And although my Julianna reminds me daily that she’s in God’s presence, I selfishly wish for her to be back in my presence. These window candles were hers. I remember being little and sneaking into her room to click them on and off while watching the Christmas lights across the street. The house would smell like pierogies, Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album would be playing, there would be laughter coming from every room while Pap took forever to perfect the lobster bisque. And now, every time I see this candle in my window, every memory comes flooding back. And although, right now, it hurts, I am thankful for every precious Christmas we shared together.”

Others write:

“It would have been Dad’s 100th birthday this Christmas. I miss him so.”


“I miss calling my Mom after the Christmas pageant. She always wanted to hear how the kids did!”

“I don’t know how I’m going to get through this Christmas without_______ (my mother, sister, brother, etc.)”

Why post this on Social Media? Because it gives voice to the very real and raw grief that we endure. It is the human condition. We are not exempt to the pain of the human experience.


There was a particular video making its rounds a few months ago, and it was poignant and painfully true:

“Here’s to the ones that we got
Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not
‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
Of everything we’ve been through.”

This is the official Maroon 5 – Memories Cover by One Voice Children’s Choir. It was made during the quarantine period of the COVIC-19 pandemic using videos recorded by choir members at their homes. Over 8 million people watched “Memories; ” it rang so true with so many. Why?
Perhaps because it was sung by children. Their innocence and vulnerability speaks to the deepest part of us, as we too miss those who should be with us.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

“We forget we’re caught between two worlds. The truth is the holidays don’t sanitize life. Even when festive, our hearts still ache with all that is broken.”

Mourning is Very Real

Mark Schultz wrote ‘A Different Kind Of Christmas,’ in 2014 after the loss of his father in law. “I’ve discovered that mourning is real and okay. So is celebrating the lives of the ones we miss. I hope the words of ‘Different Kind Of Christmas’ help your listeners reflect, grieve, and celebrate the ones they love.” – Mark Schultz

Christmas 2020

Perhaps Mark Schultz has described how best to approach Christmas 2020. Mourning is real and it is okay. We can reflect, grieve, but also celebrate those we’ve lost. It is good to know that God draws near in Jesus Christ.

It is a Different Kind of Christmas this year.

Published by Counseling from a Christian View

Counselor, Teacher, Wife, Mother and Grandmother. It is a privilege to serve God. All my roles have taught me more about God's grace and mercy. And all of life is counseling.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Grief

  1. Thanks Cynthia for the beautiful memories and thoughts of those missing family and friends. Recalling Christmases past does help rekindle what we miss and remember. Many blessings on those who celebrate, but also grieve.


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