by Hamp Thomas
One of the hardest times of the year is facing Christmas morning. It’s anticipation in reverse. We tend to dread this morning, knowing we should be happy and thankful for all the blessings we still have. But somehow, the blessing we are missing overwhelms our thoughts. You can’t feel the joy through the pain. For those who have suffered the loss of a family member, especially a child (whether it’s been one year or twenty-one years), Christmas is not the same. Emotions are high all around us, and our emotions are also at their peak during the holidays. They offer us the time to think and remember, and to grieve.
We know these days are going to come and go for the rest of our lives. We have to find any way we can to get through the holidays. If we can find just one smile, it helps us to move forward. At all holidays and family get-togethers, we keep a candle burning in his memory, a silent reminder of his presence. And, during the holidays, we also carry a little angel (a new one each year) in our pockets wherever we go. At Christmas, to help us remember the magic we shared as a family, we put a poster-sized photo of our son taped in his favorite chair. The one where Santa always left his surprises, no matter how old he got. We include him in our conversations and tell him everything that’s going on with the family. We just talk, the way we used too. At least for a little while, he is here with us again. Our child was, and always will be, a very important part of our family, especially during Christmas. Then we put on our brave faces and try to share in the joy of those around us. Merry Christmas!
Hamp’s son, Will, died in at the age of 22 in his sleep in the middle of the night after complaining of chest pains; the cause of his death is still undetermined.