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Losing Someone Near the Holidays Sucks

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Last week my baby...well she is 7 but still my baby, Caylee, was playing in my closet and pulled out a pair of pink slippers.

“Mama, I love these!”

“I do too, Caylee.” I muttered as tear filled my eyes quickly.

I forgot I had them stashed in my closet. They have so many memories tied to them.

I love them more than someone should love slippers not because they are a thing but because they were the last Christmas gift my Mom gave me.

I’ve held on to the “last” things for a long time. Even her nightgown she wore, oh and a soft pillow she rested her head on.

It’s almost been 13 years since our last Christmas together. December 29th 2007, Jesus called her home.

We sat around her bed in her hospice room and held her as she made her way to Heaven.

That Christmas was as different as ever.

We put up this sparkly tree in her room, we had take out for Christmas Eve dinner and soaked up as much of each other as we could. Trying to make it special like Christmas is supposed to be.

 

It was as different as could be.

The holidays and grief take the wind out of my sails.

My ship doesn’t want to keep going.

My brain gets stuck.

My heart gets so achy.

My heart feels envious and I hate it.

I see Mamas and daughters shopping and doing all the things they are supposed to do together. I see smiles and laughter and I wish so badly that was me and her browsing the aisles of Target, together. I hate admitting that but even 13 years later, I still want that.

I expect people to know the aches of my heart. I expect them to care more. I expect them to soothe the pain that is so concentrated this time of year more than ever. It is the worst expectation to hold.

When you lose that special person, everyone else’s life goes on but yours slowly stalls and then very slowly proceeds forward differently. Everything changes. Traditions, routines...all of it. Her phone calls at 8am "Good Morning, Annabelle!" end, her Sunday roast beef dinners stop, her candy bowls filled with Good N' Plenty disappear.

I sit in wonder some days...what would today look like? Would my kids have slumber parties with their Grandma Connie? Would she live near us? Would we still have Sunday dinners? Maybe mid week coffee dates? I wonder a lot.

Grief is a never ending road. There is no “healed” destination. It is not a linear path. It winds, it's slow, it's hilly. Some days it's a coast and feels okay and some days it's a triathlon that you have never trained for.

I do believe we get better at taking steps forward and navigating the through the blind spots that come up along the way but the holidays push me back a bit. I have gotten pretty keen on recognizing the feelings as they swarm me now more than ever.

The testiness I get with my husband is usually my grief.

The chaos and overwhelm I sit in is usually my grief.

The impatience with my kids is usually my grief.

The envy and jealousy of the Mother Daughter relationships I see is usually my grief.

Practice makes progress, right? Isn't that what I preach?

I think as the years pass the date they left us we feel this need to have to “be strong” “find the good” “relish in the memories”...I think those are all healthy ways to keep moving forward and absolutely necessary but I also need someone to remind me that it’s okay to just feel a little sad some days, especially now.

It is okay to ugly cry in your car when "Mary's Boy Child" comes on (the song we would sing at the top of our lungs, together), or t0 talk about her as if she is here decorating and getting ready for Christmas with you.

I need someone to care enough to listen to me while I work through those achy days. I don't need someone to fully understand it but be willing to sit with me in it for just a bit.

A friend once told me that grief is like a thumbprint...we all have a different print, a different journey. Your grief looks different than mine or hers or his. One can not be compared to another.

We are not "one upping" grief. It all sucks. ALL OF IT.

When I look at the big picture, I know I have been blessed exponentially. I have healthy kids. A deeply loving husband. A family that loves me, the up and down me. Friends that show up and care. I know those are all gifts from God. It is His hand on my life.

I know when I recall the memories I had with my Mom, I see gifts.

Gifts that God was presenting me with along the way, knowing exactly when He would call her home but using those 24 years He gave me her to place memories inside of my heart and my mind so that as I grieved her I would have them to open up again and again and feel the love that she so graciously shared with me.

I don't understand the timing of life. I don't get it at all.

Why does God bring young kids or babies back to Heaven so soon?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do healthy people get sick and die?

Why do young kids lose their parents before they even know them?

I have questions too. A lot of them.  I will ask God one day and I will choose to lean on the truth that He is good and His way is best.

I just will choose that because HOPE is healing and HOPE helps soothe the aches in my heart as I walk through grief.

My hope is that you feel HOPE in the sad days ahead. My hope is that you unwrap those memories in your mind, again and again. They are sweet gifts from God. Tender Mercies He bestows on us to unwrap during dark days so that we may feel Him during our grief walk.

Hope is all we have. It is a choice we get to make everyday.

May the hope you choose today soothe the aches in your grief filled heart. May hope come to you and help point you forward. May God walk beside you in this pain as a friend, behind you as an encourager and in front of you as your leader.

I am sending warmth and deep love to your tender heart this season and beyond.

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29 Comments

  1. Karen Martinez on December 17, 2019 at 5:16 am

    Spot on Andrea! Your words are perfect and bring hope to others walking a grief journey. All grief stinks but the Hope we have in Christ Jesus is healing for all! Your mama is proud of you. Love you ❤️



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      You are so amazing sweet Karen. I love and adore your heart most. Thank you for always sharing your journey with me….I know your heart understands this. I love you. XO



  2. KP on December 17, 2019 at 5:36 am

    I lost my husband of 44 years just recently (end of September) and I’m devastated. . I’ve been reading a lot about grief and just want you to know that your words really helped me…..today…Maybe not tomorrow, but today they helped.



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Oh my gosh. I can not imagine your grief and the uneasiness of your world right now. I may not have the words to help ease your heart but I do know how to send you love and prayers. I do know how to tell you that you are loved and strong. My heart hurts for your broken heart. Loving you from here and sending you warm love to wrap your in. xo



  3. Kelli Tuley on December 17, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Thank you so much for this story, I just lost my dad in oct. to a sudden death. He was my world a perfect man. I have been suffering from PTSD due to his death, I was with him while they tried to revive him. This story of yours has help me realize to think of all the great times and memories. Thank you Merry Christmas



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      Oh my goodness sweet Kelli. This is so hard. I am so so sorry to hear all of this. I know it is all so new and so fresh and all of this is so overwhelming and full of ups and downs. I promise you this, as you walk through this grief, you will have days of great memories that fill your mind and heart and you will envision him with you and it will take you back to that joy filled time together. I am hugging you. Sometimes words dont ever help but I can love you and hug you here. I am praying for you. xo



  4. Jeremiah J. Larkin on December 17, 2019 at 5:54 am

    SWEET ANDREA! Thankyou from the Core of my Being! I cannot begin to describe my sadness as we have Spent our First Thanksgiving and now Christmas without Our Mama! And I Thank God we had her as Long as we did! I so sit with you as we both have Lost Our Dearest Friends Being Our Mama’s! Please know I’m so Praying for you(FERVENTLY) as I so know that hurt as well! The Last pair of slippers my mom was wearing when she died, I have under my bed! Her old sweater she would not let go for newer ones(LOL) I have hanging in my Closet! Her hearing aids I have, and her False Teeth I too have! All the things that were So Dear to her, I wanted! I understand My Beautiful Sister in Jesus! Again I’m sitting with you so much, as we both Love and Miss Our Everything! I Love you! Love your brother in Christ! Jeremiah Larkin.❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️❤️❤️❤️❤️



    • Lore Bowers on December 17, 2019 at 8:33 am

      Beautiful heartfelt story sweet Andrea! I can’t help the tears rolling down my face as I read each and every word. Grief/ grieving is inevitable in my life as well. Does it get easier…well not so much I hold tight to the memories of my lost loved ones … one being your momma… my dear friend who I see so much of her in you . Losing my dads ( yes 2 of them many years apart) has been devastating on my life. I have lost many. My heart hurts somewhat selfishly and one day God will be able to help me understand I love you bunches and I am wishing you peace and love for the holidays… always ❣️



      • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:04 pm

        You have walked grief so long and I am so sorry. I know it has not been easy but I know you are so loved by so many here. Keep sharing your Dads memories and we, together, will share Mom always. I love that link I have with you to her. Love you so much. Hugging you always.



    • Peg Brannigan on December 17, 2019 at 8:36 am

      Andrea,
      Beautifully said. When we lose someone we love close to the holidays it seems to hurt more. We do wonder what holidays and life in general would be like. We reflect our lives during the holidays anyway but we look deeper into our lives even more.
      There is always going to be that “empty chair”. I sleep with my sons tee shirt over my pillow and refuse to wash it because I don’t want him to “ go away” I have a duffle bag with his shoes and shirts in it. We don’t want to lose the last part of them.
      I still message him thru messenger, it makes me feel like he’ll answer.
      Yes Andrea the holidays are tuff no matter how long they have been gone. God bless you❤️
      Keep those happy memories. Love Peg Brannigan



      • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:03 pm

        I think of you so often. I know your void is unimaginable. I love you and I hope you always sleep with his tee shirt and keep that duffle bag. It is okay. You can feel this way. I believe there is no right way to move through it. Love you so much.



  5. Deborah Aguirre on December 17, 2019 at 6:06 am

    Good morning Andrea.. I lost my mother 29yrs ago the pain is always there but I know she is in a better place! Lost two sisters this past year and I haven’t wanted to put up Christmas lights outside I just feel numb. I make Christmas cookies every year but this year I haven’t been able to even do that. There has been so much going on that there are times I don’t have strength to go on. But I turn to God and pray to give me the strength. I am 70yrs and have a lot to thank God for have 16 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren and another great-grandchild on the way.
    Just wanted to share my thoughts,
    I love reading your quotes everyday you are an awesome person.
    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
    ❤️❤️



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      Oh my heart sweet Deborah. Thank you for sharing your heart. I can feel your sadness.This has been a year for you. I know it is hard to move through when you are so achy from it all. I think picking one thing that would bring a rush of memories over you would be so wonderful. Make the cookies. Close your eyes and think of your Mom and your sisters. I am praying for your sweet and tender heart. God will always be your strength and your light in the dark. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family…those sweet babies need you and are blessed to have YOU. Merry Christmas my dear!



  6. Stephanie Early on December 17, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Andrea, your momma would be so proud of you. Your words resonate with alot of people , this time of year especially. You keep her memory alive through the story’s you write about the life you shared together. I pray the Lord continue to comfort you and your family during a season that you may never look at the same way again. But continue to spread and chase that joy.



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Your words of love and encouragement are honey to my soul. THank you for being YOU. You are a gift to me and I am grateful for you. I pray you and your family have a beautiful Christmas. xoxo



  7. Michelle Sharp on December 17, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Crying reading this. I loss my mom 3 years ago the day after Christmas. I will never forget that weekend. We brought her up to our house on Christmas Eve. She seemed off, more restless, more agitated. My husband I were putting our grand daughters kitchen together. At that time they lived with us. My mom was sleeping more that evening. My daughter and her family came home spent time together and went to bed. My mom started to get sicker st 2;00 I had to call 911 and went to hospital. She kept getting worse and pretty much non responsive. Be tase she was in hospice we had to wait for them to transport her. It would take hours. We finally went home on Christmas Day exhausted. Took a rest and thumb my way thru the day. I couldn’t tell you much about that day. I don’t remember my grand babies opening thru gifts I don’t remember anything. I went to bed playing to get up and go see my mom. The phone rang in the middle of the night that she had passed. I called my brother. This time of year is so hard but I put on a brave face and a brave heart and do the traditional things that she would want me to do and making memories with my four precious grandchildren. Andrea, thank you for sharing your mom and heart with us. You truly our a gift. Blessings this cutie you and your family. ❤️



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      I have tears rolling down my face too. Your story just hits me so hard. I recall a similar fog too. I know how hard this walk is. I know this though, you and I both got to take care of them towards the very end and as hard as it was looking back I am grateful to have had that extremely special and hard time, one last time. Thank you for sharing this with me. I think part of being brave is opening our hearts and letting the achiness out. I see your strength and I am inspired by it. Sending you and your sweet family so much love right now. I am thinking of you, Michelle. xoxo



  8. Cory on December 17, 2019 at 9:41 am

    That’s beautiful. I lost my 25 year old son December 24th 2015. I lost my mom in July of 2018 and I lost my best friend April of this year. I think I walk around in so much grief, and yet function day by day, step by step, I know the Lord is in charge and I’m not. But I also have lots of questions for him! Thank you for this beautiful reminder that hope is what we have to hang on to!



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      My heart feels your pain and though I can not imagine the heavy grief you are trudging through I do know the void too. It is hard for me to comprehend how God takes so many from us, you are a great example of that…so many good ones in your life that are with Him now. I do not understand it but I want you to know I will ask Him too. That reunion we will all get with be one of complete beauty. In the time before that we must try so hard to lean into the memories they left us with. They are truly gifts. Let’s keep unwrapping them on the hard days. Sending you so much love my friend.



  9. Luz on December 17, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Oh andrea..you really write from the heart. I can understand how you feel. I have lost many close family members the day before Thanksgiving and even afterwards, grief isn’t easy. I miss my mom so much it hurts too. Though from what I understand, she is still living with my sister in staten island, I have not heard, seen or spoken with her for years sadly because of family rivalry. I will say that if you are one of the lucky ones that have great memories and can appreciate it, that is just as priceless as the woman your mom represented to be. And in that, she brought you up to become the compassionate woman you are to us all today..❤❤❤❤I hope you can get some solace in knowing you are a great mother too and you were a wonderful daughter to your mom. ❤❤❤



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      I know how your heart feels. I do too have family members that I don’t have the closest relationship with and I ache for that too. It is hard to accept or learn to let go. I am hugging you sweet one. ALways!! xoxo



  10. Rochelle Darling on December 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing! Although towards the end things got a little blurry (tears) I like so many others know the pain,and push though it daily. Then god brings people together to ease the pain.



    • Andrea Robinson on December 17, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      I believe He does that too. I am hugging you my sweet Rochelle. Love to you!



  11. Carol Moulin on December 17, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    You always have the right words to lift my spirits. My beautiful step daughter passed away last evening at the age of 45. Her liver stopped working, the alcohol defeated her. She tried so hard to beat the alcohol addiction and she just could not do it. I know she does not want my family to be sad, but it seems impossible today. Heather had a heart of gold and very caring. Her and I were close..
    Have a wonderful evening Andrea.



    • Andrea Robinson on December 30, 2019 at 11:17 am

      This breaks my heart into a million pieces. I am so so saddened for you all. I am deeply sorry for this tragic loss. Sending you so much love sweet Carol. I am praying for you all.



  12. John Kelly on December 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    I lost my dear wife in September. Your words are so comforting to me. Thank you Andrea.



    • Andrea Robinson on December 30, 2019 at 11:15 am

      I am so heart broken for you…I am thinking of you and sending you so much love and many prayers.



  13. Susie on December 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Beautiful words Andrea. My dad died on Christmas Day 22 years ago and it’s STILL hard. My mom died 3 years later in February. For about 5 years after my dad died, I didn’t decorate or anything; just went through the motions because my sister has kids and we didn’t want Christmas to be bad for them. I’m an educator and at that time was teaching 6th graders. Somehow, it came up about my dad dying on Christmas Day and most of students just gasped and said, “how sad!” But then one student said, “ wow! Your dad must be really special since God took him home on Jesus’ birthday!” That changed my whole outlook. Out of the mouths of babes….
    It is still sad, and I especially miss my mom at Christmas because it was her holiday, but I remember the words of my student and it makes me smile. My folk WERE special and that’s why God took them when he did. We’ll all be together again someday but until then, I just say ‘Happy Birthday Jesus! You got the best birthday present ever 22 years ago. Please give him and my mom a hug for me.’



    • Andrea Robinson on December 30, 2019 at 11:15 am

      I am thinking of you sweet friend. Thank you for sharing this with me. Out of the mouth of babes is sometimes exactly what we need to hear. I love their hearts and perspective. Thank you for making me smile with this!! I am sending you the biggest, warmest hug ever. xoxo



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