What No One Wants to Talk About at Christmas

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Ever noticed that NO ONE wants to talk about losing a loved one at Christmas? This poignant essay breaks the barrier on the grieving process and offers hope!

grieving process at Christmas

Today I went into the attic and pulled out the baby clothes I had saved from my two biological children. It’s been years since I tenderly went through them. I touched them almost prayerfully, letting the memories roll over me in waves.


As a new mother you can never imagine that the little infant you cradle will one day be cradling their own precious bundle. It’s not possible to see that far into the future.

As you rock them to sleep, change diapers and sing lullabies you just hope and pray that somehow your child survives your bumbling efforts at mothering.

Planting seeds one moment, one day at a time.

One little pink dress shattered my fragile heart into pieces.


We always thought our first pregnancy was a boy until little Rachel Faith made her royal entrance into our world and dispelled all those beliefs!

One sweet little baby, ten fingers, ten toes and a set of lungs to announce her very presence.

Instant love at first sight.

A girl in a pink dress

This precious pink dress was a gift from my sister, whose death in 2000 is a grief I still carry to this day.

Not as overwhelming and heartbreaking as those first horrific days, but a grief none the less.

Oh how my sister loved this first niece of hers.

At the time my husband and I had just gotten our three adopted siblings when my sister’s death shattered our world. 

Dead of a heart attack at age 53, unimaginable grief filling our lives and devastating our family.

Family gatherings and holidays would make the grieving process at Christmas so very difficult.

Just a million little memories
That remind me you’re not here
Just a different kind of Christmas
This year

Yet somehow these three wounded children God gave us at just the right time would provide distraction and a new focus that changed our lives.

Their journey through abuse, wounded hearts and unspoken grief helped me walk a path I never thought I’d face.

Their battle to attach to their new family taught me everything I now know about true love and devotion.

They helped me survive a painful loss I would never have chosen, yet one God knew of before time began.

I’m unwrapping all these memories
Fighting back the tears
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year


A frilly pink dress reminds me that every baby is a gift, proof that God exists and loves us with an everlasting love.

And this week our baby girl gave birth to a beautiful boy named Aiden James. His birth reinforces everything I believe about God and the greatest gift He gives His children.

Merry Christmas Baby - Marty's Musings

It’s time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you’re up in heaven, doesn’t mean you’re not near

If it seems like you’re the only one who isn’t jolly this year, the only one with a heavy heart threatening to overflow,

You are not.

You’re not alone. No matter the years or journey, we all carry grief and losses. 

Let God love you through yours today.

**My husband and I both worked through the grieving process with a grief therapist and the book The Grief Recovery Handbook. It was life changing for us. I highly recommend it as a resource if you’ve experienced loss of any kind. You can also find more information and/or connect with a grief special in your area here.

Different Kind of Christmas

Snow is falling christmas’s here
Lights coming up and down the street
Sounds of carols feels the air
People rushing home family everywhere

Putting candles in the windows
Putting light upon the tree
But there’s no laughter in this house
Not like it used to be

Just a million little memories
And reminds me you’re not here
Just a different kind of christmas
This year

In the evening fire’s glow
Dancing underneath the mistletoe
A letter left from Santa Claus
Won’t be the same this year in this house because

There’s one less place set at the table
One less gift under the tree
And a brand new ache to take their place inside of me

There’s voices in the driveway
Families right outside the door
And we’ll try to make this Christmas like the ones we’ve had before
As we gather round the table I see joy on every face
And I realize what’s still alive is the legacy you made

It’s time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It’s time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you’re up in heaven, doesn’t mean you’re not near
It’s just a different kind of Christmas
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

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  1. Thank you for your blog about grief at Christmas. My husband passed away 2 years ago and his funeral was on Dec 23rd. I barely remember Christmas Eve that next day. This year I asked for my Christmas present to be all of us going to church on Christmas Eve (we have 2 sons) like we did when they were growing up.( Neither of them are church goers. In fact, I am pretty sure they are non-believers). So they decided instead for us to celebrate Christmas on the 23rd. I just turned 70 & this is the 1st time in my life I will not be with family on Christmas Eve. It is a hard pill to swallow! I remind myself that life changes, but our God is unchangeable and He holds me in the palm of His hand through all circumstances. My son’s gave me a calendar for 2019 with pictures of our family through different years. I cried like a baby! It is very difficult,even yet, to look at pictures if my husband. I look at this as another step in my healing and grieving. So I would like to say to those grieving,” my heart goes out to you. May you feel God’s presence, no matter what stage of grief you are in.” God’s blessings to you this Christmas , as we focus on the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

  2. Dear Marty,
    I just “met’ you today, March 17th, 2018.
    I just wanted to say thank you for being such an authentic woman! It’s rare these days to find someone like you! I’m terribly sorry about your sister, yet somehow your post made me feel like you and your beautiful family were going to be alright!
    I follow several blogs, and can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve ever felt a strong need to comment. Not just because of the Christmas post, but because of every single post I’ve read of yours. You somehow make me feel more normal. You are your authentic self, and that is such a gift! Thank you for your posts, I’m sure I’ll be hanging out here quite a bit. God bless you and your family.
    Riverview, michigan

    1. Hi, Laura. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad my transparency comforted and reached through the miles to you. I share my story so that others will know they are not alone. Grief can be a difficult companion but there is hope. I pray you’ll join as an email subscriber because I share personal stories through email that don’t always make it onto the blog. God bless you!

  3. Hi, Konni. I do so understand your grief at both the loss of your mother and the change in your family. I want to encourage you to talk to others that you trust about your feelings. I’m just now taking some steps to do the same and release myself from circumstances that were beyond my control. Please keep in touch and know that you are loved! Blessings!

    1. Thank you for the sweet comment, Larissa. Grief is a hard journey and not one to wish on anyone else, but it’s the natural part of life that teaches us to cherish those we love. Merry Christmas to you!

  4. Beautiful and very emotional post for our home this year. My BF lost his Grandma & Dad in a car accident in October and his Grandpa passed in March. It will for sure be a different Christmas for us this year. Marty you spoke so beautifully, and really touched my heart as I’m sure you will do many more of your readers.
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi, Denyse. I know what it’s like to struggle at Christmas. My mom wandered outside her nursing home on a Christmas Eve and died outside the door of the facility of hypothermia. It was devastating. But relishing the time with friends and family is the best way to honor those who have gone. (((hugs))) to you, girl!

  5. Thank you for sharing such a heart-wrenching love-filled post – directly from your heart and soul and through your grief at losing your sister, and the demands of receiving into your home the 3 little ones of hers…your heart will be full of love for these children! Our service today for 4th Sunday of Advent theme was RECEIVING is LOVE – and surely you have received LOVE through these children…your story so touched me, and shows exactly what our church’s theme spoke of…if OK with you, I’d like to link my Sunday Reflections back to your post. I may not get it done until tomorrow; am returning to the church in about an hour or so for our Live Nativity! Blessings to you and your family!

    1. You are absolutely free to link to the post, Barbara. I’m so glad it touched you and fit in with your theme at church. I love when God does that, don’t you? Merry Christmas to you!

  6. Such a beautiful post. Made me cry of course. Oh how I grieve Christmases past. Holiday traditions shattered the moment mom died. Our busy lives have made us grow apart, but I love you my Aunt with all of my heart. ( I’m starting to rhyme). ❤️❤️

    1. Well, Jen, you made me cry, too. Now we’re even (but I’m not going to rhyme!) We just have to make time so we don’t grow apart. You know I love you!