When you think of Christmas, what are some of your favorite things that come to mind?

Cookie baking with loved ones, watching Christmas movies that we all love to quote, and sitting around the tree in the dark together are some of my favorites. But I won’t be doing them this year and that makes my heart hurt.

Sadly, I am not alone in that feeling. It’s fair to say that this Christmas will look different for everybody this year. Will large family gatherings be happening? Nope. Will we get to see our loved ones we don’t see other times throughout the year? Probably not. Will our favorite traditions look the same and bring those warm, fuzzy feelings? I’m not sure.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So many people are missing someone who has died. So many people aren’t able to show love to their family like they’re used to doing by hosting, cooking, and decorating. So many people are experiencing divorce, money issues, loneliness—the list goes on.

So what do we do with the sorrow we feel this year—the sadness surrounding the loss of normalcy?

Do we pretend we are fine? No. Do we dismiss our sadness and say, “Well, at least ____.” No.

We give our emotions space.

I talk about this a lot on my weekly show, The Healing Half. Whatever you’re sad about—to whatever level of severity—deserves to be heard.

Think of the disappointment and anxiety you feel; it’s like two people knocking on your door. You can ignore the knocking and hope it just fades into the background like a ticking clock will do, but that doesn’t actually make it go away, and it certainly doesn’t make you feel any better.

Instead, why not invite them in? Why not sit with disappointment and anxiety at the table and hear what they have to say? Together you can talk about the way things used to be and what you loved about them. You can have a shoulder to cry on as you tell them your fears—fears that you might never get certain feelings back. You can reminisce over old times together and remind each other that you haven’t forgotten the things that made you who you are today.

And after a couple hours with them, you can send them on their way.

Now, I can’t promise that they’ll never come back, but for a while there will be no more knocking to cause you irritability. There will be no more guilt whispering in your ear, “Aren’t you going to answer that?” And there might even be part of you that is glad you finally had “someone” to share your true thoughts with, someone who had no expectations of you to “find the bright side.”

Not having our favorite traditions is sad. Even though I am confident you will find new ways to make this season special, it’s ok to miss what you used to have. Give yourself permission to open the door to those feelings—you deserve the peace that will follow.

And if you or someone you know is experiencing a death loss, regardless of how fresh, we know the “knocking” never goes away 100% because grief means the lost one mattered to your soul.

It is important to know that there are lots of resources out there that can make the burden lighter, like my grief processing workbook, My Heart Still Remembers, and my upcoming song, “Light a Candle For Me,” that can listen to while you light a candle in the honor of a loved one (join my email list to get it delivered right to your inbox when it comes out).

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a merry Christmas, whatever that looks like this year.

  • Miki Speer


Cover photo by Tessa Wilson on Unsplash