Twinkling lights are everywhere I look, and the magic of the holiday season is filling our house. The kids are growing more excited each day anticipating Santa's arrival and gifts are accumulating, ready to be wrapped in beautiful paper and bows.
Elf and The Grinch have been playing on repeat and the nativity scene has found a safe spot among our decorations. It's one of the busiest times of the year and it can be hard to catch your breath in the hustle and bustle of it all.
But then something stops you.
Maybe it's a pang in your heart or a memory of someone dearly missed. Maybe it's a familiar feeling of emptiness—of wanting this person to be a part of this magical, joy-filled time of year.
It's so easy to forget that many people are struck with sadness around the holidays and are longing for someone who's missing from their lives. We give and give to our families and friends and communities this time of year—food for dinners, and toys for less-fortunate children—but people don't always realize that another type of giving is needed.
The gift of comfort.
Because someone who is missing their mother, father, brother, sister, child, friend or spouse needs your connection and warmth. They need a reminder of their loved one is not forgotten, and maybe above all—just needs a hug.
Family traditions are wonderful and cherished, but they can also feel incomplete when someone is missing.
For me, I love the holidays, and watching my kids experience all the joys this season has to offer truly fills my heart. Yet, not a Christmas goes by that I don't think about what Kendrick (my first child lost at 2 months old) would have thought of this time of year.
Would he have loved hot cocoa like his sister and brothers? Would he have gotten into all the ornaments on the tree as a toddler? What toys would he have asked Santa for? What Christmas wishes would he have made for others?
I am left to wonder these things without answer. And even though I fully embrace this time of year and relish the holidays, I can't help but miss him.
I wanted to share my story as a reminder that even though your holiday cup may be filled with joy, someone you know may be wrestling with sadness. With all the merry and bright and cups of cheer, it's important to be mindful of this and to treat people with extra care. Reach out to someone you know who has lost someone, and let them know you're thinking of them. It won't go unnoticed.
Many of us have dealt with loss at some point in our lives, and we've learned to carry these special people in our hearts so that they are always with us. But missing someone never goes away. There are so many experiences in our lives we wish we could just snap our fingers and have them right by our sides—the holidays being one of those.
So as you check off your shopping lists, make your donations, trim your tree, or light your menorah—please don't forget to show care to those who may be hurting a little this holiday season.