You get your hopes up that this year, finally, Christmas will be so happy for everyone. 

The death of your Loved One happened more than one Christmas ago and "things" are getting back to a new normal--not the old, happy holiday normal--but a new, quieter, normal with one empty chair at the table. 

You try your best to continue the same family traditions because they bring you a measure of comfort and joy amidst the turbulence of glaring lights, traffic and crushing humanity that signal the start of another Christmas season. Another lonely Christmas season. 

You're trying to be brave. You smile brightly. You spend even more time with the little ones whose joy is contagious. (They always lift your spirits. Death means nothing to them and that's as it should be.) You cook and you bake: doing so gives you a sense of continuity over eras. 

You put up the decorations with loneliness but, still, hope is in your heart. Blind hope. You hope that in decorating with beauty that some of that serenity will transmit to you, too. You're hoping that the cute decorations will please the little ones and that you'll be able to see amazing joy in their eyes. New toys. New life. Their bright spirits renew your own. 

But then...something changes. Your family isn't willing to continue the traditions. They want to change it up a bit. They don't want to return to the family home because "someone" will be missing there so they want to host at their place. It's just easier for them to have the family Christmas celebration at home where their kids feel more comfortable. They invite all their friends so that they can "get it over with" all in one go. It's just so much easier. For them!

And the empty chair becomes a legacy, symbolic of the emptiness inside of you. Now it's just a reminder of Christmas past, a lost and forgotten holiday ghost floating alongside decorations that gather dust from lack of attention. 

Sometimes Christmas hurts, even before it starts. 

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About the Author
I lost my husband in January 2015. He was my stars. He was my everything. I write memories to help me deal with grief--a grief I was not prepared to face. I never would have been ready to say "Goodbye" but I also never would have gauged the depth of grief to be so deep. I hope my poems can help others realize they are not alone in the loss of a beloved family member.
I'm Grieving, Now What?