Losing a lifetime companion is incredibly difficult, especially when it happens suddenly with little time to prepare.
There are seasons of grief.
When the first holiday season without a loved one approaches, the weight of the world feels heavy. When the second season arrives, life becomes substantially harder—reality sets in, quiet is a constant companion, and joy doesn’t return to our bones. We are reminded of being alone.
The light and airy spirit we once enjoyed has been traded for misery—we feel heavy, drained of energy, and numb with fear of the unknown.
For those of us with an aging parent, feeling alone and still suffering from a fresh and emotional loss this holiday season, the road ahead can be sensitive and stressful. The familiar feelings of jubilation, anticipation, excitement, and wonder that naturally start to ripple can be replaced with anxiety, worry, depression, sadness, and dread.
My mom has always loved this time of year, especially Christmas Day—she decorated every inch of our home for the holidays and was revered for how great it always looked. Our Christmas tree was perfection.
Christmas was simply my mom’s thing; she could not be outdone.
But, this year will be especially difficult for my mom. She is going through the second season of grief—feeling alone, filled with anxiety. She’s suffering.
“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it.”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh.
After considering Pooh’s words, Piglet was comforted by this.
So this year, I would like to give her a gift that will stand up over time with a poem that she can read for years to come.
This Christmas, I wish my mom comfort.
A Christmas Letter to my Mom—to be Read Annually.
I wish you to fall in love.
I wish you to fall in love with you.
The you that I remember.
The you who wrote me this poem, on my 29th birthday.
The you that knows she has a life left to live, filled with things left to discover.
Do you remember writing this to me, Mom?
I still have the piece of paper, pulled from that spiral notebook you always kept.
28 years ago today
A baby boy stole my heart away.
I counted his fingers and his toes.
I examined his ears his eyes and his nose.
He circled my finger with his tiny hand.
And his skin was the color of warm summer sand.
This boy is a man now, his hand covers mine.
He’s smart and he’s funny he’s turned out just fine.
Before I complete this, I just want to say…
My heart wasn’t stolen—
I gave it away!”
We’ve arrived at another Christmas, Mom, but I’ve got to keep it real.
You’ve got a very different life now, and it’s a challenging deal.
But this time of year has always been your favorite to soar.
It’s not meant for worry; there’s no need anymore.
It’s clear you need some wisdom, and a few words to hear.
You must get you back, Mom, and not live with all of this fear.
There is strictly no good reason to continue feeling down.
It’s time to see that beautiful smile, not the one that’s upside down.
See, you’re only here once, Mom, and only once, you’ll you roam this earth.
And this gorgeous world, with so much to see, beckons for your rebirth.
So, remember Dad, and miss him hard—it’s natural and you should.
But at this point to be suffering, even Dad would say, ”No good.”
So are you with me, Mum? Are you ready to rise?
Are you ready, Mumma, to arrive?
To live and love a brand new way, declaring loudly, “I’m alive.”
And say no to hurt and anger, leaving your worries in the past?
Because I want you to be happy, Mom, setting sail with a brave new mast.
You may want to let go of things you can’t control, not interfere, and just let them be.
And focus on your body and your mind, yelling proudly, “I love me.”
It’s time to get comfortable in your skin, loving you—your awesome self.
And rediscover hope and joy while putting misery on the shelf.
It’s Christmastime and that’s your cue, to start a brand new day.
And celebrate you with a new mindset, attacking love as your new foray.
I know you can do it and can make it happen without any strife.
Because you’re running out of time, Mom, you need to start your life.
Okay, are we clear? Are we on the same page? Have you decided, “I’m gonna live!”
Please let me know because, I have plenty of words to give.
I must wind down; I have my own things to do and another piece I want to start.
But nothing is more important than this Christmas letter to you and your hurting heart.
I hope that it comforts you to know how much for you I feel.
Because I’ve been heartbroken too, and I also need time to heal.
So let’s be smart, take one step at a time, and work on anxious tugs.
That feeling’s a trick, there is nothing to fear, and the world just wants your hugs.
I hope that you’ve listened, that’s enough of my pep talk, as I’m starting to sound like Dad.
Life is calling loud and clear, saying, “Go play outside, and be the best the world’s ever had.”
Author: Bill Rugg
Image: Author’s own
Apprentice Editor: Kristen Ward / Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman