Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Christmas Then and Now

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Posted By: 
Becky Lichucki

So much time has passed--it will be eight years in March. This is our 8th Christmas season without Robert.

This year has been hard for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with Robert. Munchkin has been battling serious chronic illnesses and between treatments, hospitals and therapies I am spent.

As we prepare for Christmas this coming week I am struck by how differently I do things now and how it is actually ok. I can see the evolution of my holiday season and I am grateful for that.

1. Decorations are simple now. The whole house inside and out used to be decked out. Now-a smallish tree, manger and stockings--that's it. No garlands-no figures all over-no outdoor lights.

2. Gift buying is pared down. Nieces and nephews and a grab bag with my siblings. I no longer exchange gifts with friends and their kids. Most have drifted away and those who haven't--we do cookies and wine instead. Kids decorate prebaked sugar cookies and grow ups "help" and drink wine.

3. I no longer do Christmas Cards. I have given myself permission to just not do it.

4. Christmas Eve my siblings spend with their inlaws-so munchkin and I spend it quietly by ourselves.

5. Christmas Day is generally low key with my immediate family. In the nine years we lived away--we got to come home ONCE. I treasure these holidays and common days. The kids run and play-grown ups visit and cook and laugh and it is therapeutic.

6. Christmas cookie baking--I no longer do it myself-I get together with my sister, mom, sister in law and some cousins. The kiddos decorate the sugar cookies and pretzels and we have a huge variety of yummies to take home. In Texas, I was on my own and baked for days-I enjoyed it but it was lonely.

Even though things are so different now-some things are much better. I feel like I am in a better place and that my efforts and my families efforts are focused on the things that are important. My energy is limited and in the first few Christmas Seasons I didn't do much at all. Time has given me the perspective to add back the things that are important and bring me joy.

For those of you who are just entering the Holidays on your journey--even if it is hard-take my advice and give yourself permission to not do things or to do things--whatever you need and hopefully time will give you the same perspective that I have.


I hope your child gets well soon. It is not fair that after suffering the loss of a spouse, that our children have illnesses, too. My adult daughter has chronic health problems that have been the toughest thing for me to deal with since my husband died. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Merry Christmas.

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