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

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 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; 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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