When you’d rather skip Christmas this year

A woman in blue jacket smiling for the camera.
Losing someone you love is incredibly hard. And now the holidays are upon you. That empty chair, with all its memories and sentiment, now seems to be the largest piece of furniture in your home. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m awed at the depth you loved your always-could-depend-on dad, energetic-and-inquisitive child, best-buddy sibling or I-can’t-live-without-him (or -her) spouse. Unfortunately, this love makes facing the holidays all the harder. Tasks, any tasks, especially holiday-related ones, feel overwhelming. You try not to allow your sadness to dampen the spirits of those around you, especially those who share your grief, but many days you fail. You appreciate the friends who want to be there for you, who want to ease your pain – and don’t have a clue what to say. This includes me. What words can I offer to help you through this painful, “most wonderful time of the year”? I know some of you personally. Others, I learn about your pain in emails and on social media. Thank you for reminding me to be patient with you. I know everyone grieves in different ways and for different lengths of time. I’m desperate to lighten your sadness, but I fear my feeble words will sound glib and only add to your sorrow. So I’m praying for God to show me how to be there for you. And when that’s not possible, how I can pray for you. I’m asking God what to do and how to pray when you can’t stop crying, when you’re tempted to scream out of anger and exhaustion – and when you actually do. Would it help if I also prayed for you to experience God’s presence and provision as described in Psalm 23:1 (AMPC)? “The LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.” As I pray, I will trust that our compassionate, sympathetic and ever-present Shepherd will help you make it through each day. That you’ll experience God’s compassion as He provides for all your needs. I will also pray that your heavenly Father will continue to guide you with the wisdom needed each and every day. And finally, I will trust that at the end of every long, long day, you’ll be able to sleep, sensing His protection over you. God bless you, dear friend. Please let me (and everyone who loves you) know how we can be there for you – not just during this holiday season, but for as long as you need us. Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, Connect with her at

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