Oh the most wonderful time of year.  Filled with family, Christmas lights, decorations, good food, and how can we forget the presents?  

But… for some, this is not the most wonderful time of year.  It brings financial burden, unnecessary stress, heartache, sadness and dread for some.  Have you ever wondered why it isn’t ok to be cheerful for the holiday season?

I lost my husband December 26, 2017 to suicide.  My daughter was 5 months old when he died.  I had to carry on with life.  I had a child to care for and all be damned if I was going to fail her.  Two years later I lost my Mom to lung cancer, on December 23, 2019.  To tell you that I freaking hate Christmas with every ounce of my soul is an understatement.  

Every year the emotions start rolling in hard just before Thanksgiving.  I know Christmas is just around the corner and I want to hide in a hole and come out on January 1st.  I don’t want to celebrate a time of year that makes the hole in my heart even bigger.  I don’t want to see complete families living their best lives and having that constant reminder that my husband and Mom aren’t here.  As time has gone on though, I’ve been blessed with another child and a supportive boyfriend.  Our family is blended and messy, but it’s authentically ours.  

I do Christmas for my kids.  My boyfriend has told me that the joy of seeing your child excited for Santa is worth it.  I didn’t really “get it” until earlier this week.  We FaceTimed my husband’s Aunt, who happens to own a Christmas Tree Farm on the West Coast.  She was at the tree lot and Santa and Mrs. Clause were there.  My daughter got to FaceTime Santa AND Mrs. Clause.  She was on cloud 9, prancing and squealing around the house how she couldn’t believe she got to talk to Santa!  

After we hung up, I was thankful.  Thankful for his Aunt still being a part of our lives.  Thankful that my daughter got to FaceTime Santa.  And for once, I found a little piece of joy this Christmas Season.

I don’t share our story for bragging rights or pity.  I share because I want to give you hope.  I want you to validate however you’re feeling.  I want you to know that you will not live in sadness and darkness forever.  Little by little life will move forward and your grief will change.  I promise you, one day you’ll be able to find a little piece of joy.  

With hugs and so much love,

Jesi Arter