Wishing the Holidays Would Go On By

At least I don’t have to deal with Christmas. It must be terrible for those who used to rejoice in the holiday. One less present under the tree. One less diner at dinner. One less reason to go on. And everyone else happy and smiling. It’s Christmas. The happiest time of the year. Rejoice in the season. Or else.”

Joy for them maybe. But not for us. Just a mean reminder of how much has been lost. How hollow the day is. And they want you to be happy. To join in and decorate the tree. Hang holly when you’d rather hang yourself. They are all so deliriously joyful for the holiday and cannot understand why you can’t get into it.

“Sure you lost a kid but damn, it’s Christmas. Get with it. Snap out of it. Join the celebration” when all you want to do is flee and be alone with your pain. “Come join us in some Christmas carols” when all you want to sing is of your loss.

“Leave me alone. Take your celebration elsewhere. This is not a holiday to rejoice. To celebrate. It is just another day of hurt.”

The very joy of the season causes exquisite pain and deeper grief. Everything and most everyone is happy. Happier than another other time of year while your days all blend into one dampened, grey cloud of grief. Your happiness just points out my pain to me. Your being joyous just makes my grief deeper. Can’t you understand that there is nothing to celebrate. Nothing to be happy about.

There’s pressure to let it go for a day and join in the festivities. Am I being selfish as I wallow in my grief? Can’t I just lighten up? I’m killing Christmas.

Well maybe if something, someone, did not kill my child I could join in. Maybe if the power you are celebrating did not decide to take my child, I could rejoice in his birth. If my pain makes you less able to enjoy the holiday, imagine how it makes me feel every day.

Must be hell to have to see everyone so excited to get their presents and there is one less under the tree. One less ripping at paper. One less smiling face. One less. One less.

And if you can’t understand that, you can’t understand me. So just leave me alone. Let me be. I have nothing to celebrate. This is not the most wonderful but the most terrible time of the year. I can’t join your party. I can’t deliver a smile I don’t have. I don’t want to celebrate anything ever again. You demand too much from me.

Want to see me happy. Just give me a simple present. It does not even have to be wrapped. Just give me my child back or keep your holiday. Christmas Day is not for me.



Neal Raisman

More Articles Written by Neal

ost importantly, Dr. Neal Raisman is Emma’s and Jack’s “zaddi” or grandfather which he considers his number one job. But Dr. Raisman is also the leading authority and consultant on customer service and retention in higher education. Dr. Raisman’s best selling books such as The Power Of Retention: More Customer Service In Higher Education have been purchased by 63% of all colleges in the US. His latest book is From Admissions to Graduation: Increasing Growth through Collegiate Customer Service. His customer service and retention blog www.academicmaps.blogspot.com with its discussions of recent research and solutions to customer service issues is very popular and read by over 2,000 colleges, universities and business that work with academia each week He has two children. Isaac who died of meningitis at age 26 and Shana who is 42 and mother to jack and Emma. Neal is a highly sought after speaker, trainer, consultant, researcher, and marketer on customer service. His firm, N.Raisman & Associates is the leading customer service consulting group for retention, enrollment, morale and marketing for higher education and businesses that work with colleges in the US, Canada and Europe. He has a PhD from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in neurolinguistics, was a Fulbright Fellow in France; has published six books, over 400 articles and the blog www.academicmaps.blogspot.com; won numerous academic and marketing awards and accolades. But, little makes him prouder than his family and when his dog Hersch listens to him.


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  • BJ Nowak says:

    Intense and powerful and full of grief. I am terribly sorry for you loss.

    I can relate to everything you’ve stated. Nine years we lost our 20 year-old son, Paul on 12/16, five days prior to what would have been his 21st birthday. Services were held on 12/23. Poinsettias and wreaths adorned the church

    I remember people trying to shove Christmas, literally, down my throat immediately following the experience. It was not palatable. To show up invited on Christmas Day and to experience the discomfort we created with our presence in a Christian household was all too much, When a well-intentioned family friend told me not to be mad at god I knew these people were clueless, unenlightened and clearly hypocrites. And I knew that Christmas would never be the same again.And it isn’t and many years I skip it entirely.

    I continue to make old friends uncomfortable around this time of year, even after attempting to educated them about loss and its accompanying grief. But the new friends I’ve made along my journey, those who seem to “get it” and walk beside me, are a source of comfort. They respect my journey. I hope you find people who are willing to do the same for you.

    I feel deeply every year that we could skip the entire month and move forward to January. And honestly, more people than you and I know feel the same.

    • I can relate to everything mentioned above about wanting to just skip the whole month of December. It hurts to walk in stores and hear the holly, jolly, Christmas carols being played overhead. We are not in a ‘everything is wonderful’ mood. We are painfully aware that our child is not here with us so how could we possibly enjoy the celebration.

      I think our true friends know what we can handle and they back off when necessary. They are there for us during the bad and the not so bad times. I wouldn’t expect my friends not to celebrate their own holiday and rituals. I just wouldn’t want it taken for granted that we would participate. My husband and I did go to one party this year. (Our son died 13 months ago). However, this celebration was in honor of a child’s birthday that had passed away. His birthday was in December and his mother felt like having a party to honor him and others that are now in heaven. It was a different kind of party and we had a nice time honoring those that are now gone.