Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Holiday Season

by: Joelle Charbonneau

I love winter.  Strange, but true.  I love the crisp air, the snow and all the fun that goes along with it.  If it means shoveling the walks or scraping ice off the car—well, that is the price I pay for living in a place where all the seasons are celebrated to their fullest.

Part of the reason I love winter is the holidays it brings.  Hanukkah and the glow of the candles that are lit.  Christmas filled with music and lights.  Kwanzaa and the celebration of family and harvest.  And finally the ringing in of the New Year. 

I will admit that this year I am less prepared for the holidays than ever and not because I’ve failed to check things off the to-do list.  The tree is up and there are gingerbread houses decorated.  I have presents bought and am getting cards ready to be sent.  Physically, I am ready for the start of this season that I love.

Emotionally, I am not.

With every day that passes, the calendar grows closer to the one year anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing.  I miss him.  I miss his laughter and his support.  I miss the certainty with which he said I could accomplish anything.  I miss the way he and my son sang songs and played games.  I miss his shoulder and his understanding.

And yet, the one thing I know is that he, too, loved the holidays.  Not the shopping and the card sending—though he loved giving gifts, he hated the worry of coming up with just the right thing.  No, the trappings of the holidays meant little to him.  What he loved was spending time with his family, setting aside time to reconnect with friends and celebrating the religious beliefs he followed.

So, while my heart hurts, I will do my best to find the happiness and joy in each and every day of this holiday season.  When I shed tears, they will serve as a reminder of the gift of his love that I was given.  And when my son laughs and sings, I will hear my father-in-law in every joyous sound and smile.  I will remember.  And I will be glad.

This is the season for family and for love.  May the magic of this holiday season bring you joy and closer in your heart to those you care for no matter how far apart you might be. 


  1. A lovely meditation on grief and the holidays, Joelle. It's a tough time for many of us for similar reasons. My favorite brother-in-law died just days before Christmas a few years ago, and every Christmas since has been tinged with the grief of his passing. It gets a little easier each year to handle the grief, a little easier to focus on the wonderful memories he left everyone instead of the hole he left in our lives, but I suspect the holidays will always be bittersweet now.

  2. Joelle, so sorry that you are going through this during the holidays. I lost a dear friend earlier this year--someone who loved the holidays and celebrated with gusto--and he will be missed this year as we get together and try to be happy in the midst of this loss. Sending good thoughts to you. Maggiexo

  3. Thanks, ladies. I think the holidays get more meaningful as we get older and realize how much we take our families and friends for granted. Much love to you both!

  4. My oldest son who was born three days after Christmas died several years ago. He too loved Christmas and though I always miss him, it's always more a bit hard during the holidays.