Merry Christmas

What do you think of when you hear the world “merry?” I looked it up in the dictionary. Webster’s New World Dictionary gives this definition: “full of fun and laughter; lively and cheerful… festive; see HAPPY.”

When your child is not going to be with you in person this Christmas, how can you be “full of fun and laughter?” How can you be “lively and cheerful… festive?” “Happy?!” It seems impossible, I know; but hopefully you will have some fun, laughter and happiness with the people who are still with you.

Over the Christmas season, my wife, Iris, and I have often watched some of our Christmas videos of the past over the Christmas season to remember our daughter, Crystal. We have discovered that whenever we do that, it brings tears; but it also brings some laughter and fond memories. It is a way of keeping our daughter alive to us.

As we celebrate Christmas this year with other family members, we know we can have a “Merry Christmas” in the joy we share being with them, exchanging gifts as we exchange gifts and, at times, sharing memories of Crystal.

If this is the first Christmas without your child, you may not feel like being “merry;” and that’s okay. Grieving doesn’t require you to put on a “happy” face. For me, the first few Christmas days were the hardest. This will be our 12th Christmas without Crystal, and there is still sadness and heartbreak even as I write about this a few days before Christmas.

A few months after Crystal died, Iris seemed to sense God telling her to “concentrate on the living.” It didn’t me she was to forget her daughter but to also focus on the family and friends still here. Iris and I have tried to do that. We surely do miss the child who has gone from us but we are also grateful for the family still with us and we will endeavor to have a “Merry Christmas” with them.