It’s the week of Christmas. For many of us that means frantically getting that last gift and baking yummy things. It means family gatherings and love. It means being off work and having fun. It means happiness. But it doesn’t for everyone. Do you know someone who is lonely? Do you know someone who doesn’t have family around? Do you know someone who lost a partner or parent this year? Do you know someone who has a broken heart?
You do. We all do. Have you reached out to them during this busy season? I know we all have so much going on, but for those in the throes of grief this week and time of year may be even harder. There are so many articles about depression over the holidays and I am not knowledgeable on the subject. But I do know that the holidays hold a lot triggers. And for some that means needing to feel connected.
In 2017 I was heartbroken, scared for my sister and dead inside. I actually booked a trip over Christmas so I wouldn’t have to pretend. I went to a place my phone literally wouldn’t work and ran away. That was my coping. It almost worked. I almost ignored the Christmas/New Years week. When I was in the midst of my depression, I wasn’t capable of talking about it or reaching out. I was going through the motions of life but not actually alive. (Ala Buffy! for those of you who enjoyed the Buffy Musical…) So what I can tell you is:
Those that need to feel connected WILL NOT REACH OUT. They will not call you. They will not take you up on the “call me if you need anything”. Or “let me know if I can help”. They won’t tell you that they are sad. Lonely. Struggling. They won’t say how much they are dreading Christmas. Or how seeing the tree or a song or some triggering memory makes them hurt. They will not say anything. They will go home and cry by themselves. And you won’t know about it. If you want to make a difference, it is up to YOU to think about who may be in that place that you know and reach out to them.
In your Christmas lists, please add time this week to reach out the people you know have had a big life change and may need to hear from you. Who do you know that had a break-up this year? Who do you know that lost a family member? They need you this week, likely more than usual. The “firsts” of grief are the hardest. Be there for them, even in your joy. Just caring can be enough to change the day for someone hurting. And there is no better time of year to spread love than this week.