Does anyone feel especially sad at the holidays?

gerinaNovember 27, 2008

In December 2003 my dad turned 81 and ten days later he dropped dead of a massive heart attack. He was buried two days before Christmas. His death was completely unexpected. It was really difficult making the funeral arrangements, buying food for after the service...and having people wishing me a Merry Christmas while doing these errands.

I still think of my dad often, but I don't necessarily feel depressed during the year. It's only happens when Thanksgiving rolls around and then, on December 26th, I am a happy camper again. This year seems a little bit worse because my mom is in hospice. This was always my favorite time of year, but it isn't any longer.

Does anyone was else feel especially sad at the holidays or is it just because his anniversary date coincides with his bday and the holidays? I'd really like to not feel like this every year.

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gerina, you are not alone. Believe me. I hate hating the holidays but I can't help myself. I wish I could fast-forward and have it all over. My mom died three years ago this coming January and although I have a lot of happy memories of Christmas's past nothing will be the same again and it hurts. I can bear to have the tree and go through the motions, but most of the past joy is gone. Perhaps a miracle will enable me to recapture some of the holiday magic, but I'm not counting on it.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 12:26PM
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This year, yes. For future christmas seasons I'm sure I'll be okay again, I have a beautiful wife and my first child is on the way, but this holiday season is already starting out as bad for me. My Great Grandma Annie passed away two weeks ago today, and I've been very sad and depressed and have a good cry at least once every day, most days much more than just once, and little crying off and on every day too, even at work. I just can't help but think that we were so close to having one more holiday season with her, why were we just not given it? I know that at least she's where she wants to be. Not that she wanted to leave her family behind, she loved her family very very much and hated to see any of them hurt, but she's been tired for some time now and has even said she was ready to go. She passed just one month and three days before her 95th birthday, and she passed in peace and at peace. I love her so very much and miss her dearly, and this holiday season just isn't going to be the same. They never will from here on out, ever, be the same without her, but new love is coming in the form of my baby. Of course that love will not replace hers, nothing ever will, and I'm so sad that my great-grandma is no longer alive to see my baby when it's born. She'll be there in spirit though I'm sure! She was SO HAPPY when I told her we were expecting!

Anyway, yea, this holiday season, at least, isn't going to be nearly as happy for me as usual.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 4:43PM
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I dont know how far I would say my situation goes but it sure isnt the same with my Dad not around. He died last year of cancer. It just isnt the same.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 1:34AM
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The holidays haven't been the same for me for a long time now. I lost all of my grandparents and don't have much family left due to being a small family to start with. I use to do big dinners for the family making sure everyone came. We always had a wonderful time and everyone talked about how good it was getting together. Now I can't cook without being in a lot of pain, back problems.

This Thanksgiving my DH and I went to WinStar for the buffet. It was good and we did enjoy ourselfs and we were Thankful for having each other.

My Grandmother passed on the 4th of July and it took awhile before I felt up to doing anything that time of year.

Peace be with you, Barb

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 12:44PM
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Thank you for your responses. I am sorry for your losses and that you feel badly at this time of the year too. I'm glad that I am not alone feeling this way because it seems like after five years, it's been long enough - especially when I am ok the rest of the year.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 9:55PM
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I think the holidays will always be hard.
We lost my Mother in law 2 years ago, and you could just feel the saddness in the air around the table. They had the dinner buffet style, and then you just picked a seat at the table, and it just so happened there ended up being an empty seat next to my Father in law. It just seemed so sad.
Hope you are feeling a little better.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 10:32AM
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Yes, this time of year is extremely difficult to endure. My mom and grandma died 1 1/2 years ago. I've been intending on buying Christmas flowers to put on their graves, but I just can't get myself to do it this time. I know it's not really that big of a deal since they have no clue what kind of flowers, if any, are on their graves, but I'm sure everyone here understands my situation.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 6:42PM
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I lost my 30yr old son to cancer in March 2005 and Christmas will never be the same again. We had one last Christmas when we knew he was dying and made it as good a day as we could and have good memories of that day amongst the sadness. Now we are coming up to the 4th one without him and for me there is an emptiness that can never be filled but I do the best I can to enjoy it with my grandchildren and my remaining son. I left my husband a year after Glenn died which was a good decision but now I am not the one to organise and cook for the big family day and my role has changed. I am lucky to be loved by my family but my big boy is not physically at the table with us and it hurts so much. His widow has a very nice new partner who is good to my grandson but they do not join us at Christmas now. I am sorry for your losses and do understand some of your feelings. I do try to fulfill my promise to my son to live the best life I can and I guess that is all any of us can do. It is a relief in many ways when the holidays are over. Elspeth

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 4:38AM
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This is our first Christmas without my Dad. He is the first significant person that I have lost.

I do not like the feeling of Him being gone. My memory of Him is crystal clear. The holidays bring the feeling of loss even sharper.

From what I understand, the feeling will change as the years pass. The Holidays will bring joy but it will be different then it was. They who we have lost will come to mind but the intensity of the loss will fade. Of course, as time goes on, we will lose others who are important to us as well.

I have not lost a husband or a child. That is a very grievous loss. The loss of a mate is a most intense experience and no one expects or wants to go thru the loss of a child as it is expected that the parent passes first. There is much brokeness for those who suffer thru such a painful thing. The thought of it is so very sad.

I don't know how long a time should pass before it would be right to step back into participating fully but for those who need us, I think it is important to find it in us to continue on with as much Joy we can muster up for the Holidays. We may have grandchildren, husbands or wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and children.

Those whom we Grieve for are gone but not forgotten. The time comes when we need to begin to again Celebrate Life for those who are present with us. Ultimately, those dear important people who we care about will lose us as well. Let us show them how precious they are and do the very best we can to celebrate the Love we can share with them and the Joy of the Holidays while we are still here.

Peace to all who Grieve for Loved Ones during this Holiday Season.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 12:44AM
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Many Blessings for Peace as we enter the Holidays without those we mourn for.

"I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day"
by Casting Crowns : from the album Peace On Earth

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing
Like a choir they're singing
In my heart I hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Then ringing singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells they're ringing
Like a choir they're singing
And with our hearts we'll hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they're ringing?
The life the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 1:00AM
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My Mother found out she had a spot on her lung the size of a golf ball last Christmas eve and died good friday. I am retracing every event from this week on, as of this week last year she was fine had a little cold that was it! A little cold turned in to stage for lung cancer at 60 years old. I'm trying to get through this Christmas as fast as I can, The kids really keep me going. I miss her sooo much it hurts I still can't get past the fact that she's gone and never coming back. I look at my Dad and feel so bad he's so quite , but always was, he just looks so sad and lost it really brakes my heart. So yes the holidays are really sad for me and I'm sure always will be she was my best friend the nicest Mother and person anyone could ask for. I was really lucky to have such a great person in my life.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:09PM
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I'm so sorry darzie. A similar thing happened with my sil's mom. She rec'd a very poor diagnosis after not feeling well for a while and was gone within six weeks. Also around your Mom's age. It was a great shock to my SIL. She could not bear the last few weeks and my DB was with my SIL's Mom when she passed. She was a Dear woman with much brokeness in her life.

My DD passed and this is my family's first Holiday Season without Him, my children's Dear Papa who they adored so much is gone. Life will never be the same.

My Mom is up there in age and very much alone also with much brokeness as well.

I keep reminding myself, as per my Faith, that there is a Life Here After. That we will meet again. That this is not our permanent Home. That the people we Love (our family, children, etc.) are only borrowed for the time we are Here on Earth. That we came from Heaven, as a gift to each other, and we will one day return to it.

With that in mind, I continue on with Life for those who are Living. To render them as much Joy as we can. I remember when my own Parents lost their Parents when I was a small child and how it frightened me. I can think back and remember my Mother crying. Then, they picked up the pieces and went on. We had many wonderful Holidays afterward with Aunts, Uncles, cousins and friends around us. They would talk about those who passed with fond stories. They did the best they could and continued on with the family traditions.

Remember, Darzie, to keep your Dear Dad included in Life. He may not want to but keep trying. This first Holiday without DM is going to be hard and many do not want to nor should they try to simulate the Day the same as it was before their Loved One passed. It might be a good idea to do something different like go out and eat or plan to spend the day with Friends and bring DD along.

Give it some thought and make a plan for what you think might be best to do for everyone.

Many Blessings for Peace to you in the weeks coming up this Holiday Season.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 11:39PM
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This is the first Christmas without my son. He died suddenly on Sep 4, 2008, 14 weeks ago today. Christmas was always the family's favorite time of year, with a huge celebration at our house on Christmas Eve that no one ever missed, especially my son, who was always the first one to arrive. This year my husband and I cannot do it. We don't have the energy or stamina to even think of the emptiness that will surround this holiday. My daughter has offered to have a gathering at her house, so we will leave our house on Christmas Eve for the first time in 44 years.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 8:18AM
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Katy, I am so sorry about your son. Please accept my condolences. You have every right to feel the way you do, and don't feel bad about feeling bad. Christmas Eve was my favorite day of the year too. It evoked a very special feeling. Now my mom is gone and the event has moved and step kids and their boyfriends are included it feels like I am a fish out of water and really don't even want to be a part of it. I will go for a short time and have a small meal, but it will never be the same and I miss those special holidays with my family, especially my mama. Bless you and I feel your pain and grief.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:15AM
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I was so relieved to get the holidays behind me last year, the first without my Dad. The first "firsts" are so hard to get through but I now realize it isn't any easier this year. I am thankful that the kids will be around but it just won't be the same.

I am sorry for all of you that have lost your children. That's got to make the holidays so much more difficult and painful to get through than what I'm dealing with.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 12:03PM
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The Love will Never End.

Grown-Up Christmas List/(Amy Grant

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee;
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies.

Well, I'm all grown-up now,
And still need help somehow.
I'm not a child,
But my heart still can dream.

So here's my life-long wish,
My grown-up Christmas list.
Not for myself,
But for a world in need.

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree.

Well Heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul.

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth.

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end, oh.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

This is my only life-long wish.

This is my grown-up Christmas list.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 1:36AM
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I just read your message about your dad and my heart goes out to you.,I am having a hard year also but for different reason. But I find it especially sad when every one around me is so happy and in the Christmas mood.My thoughts and prayers are with you...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 6:26PM
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Your kind thoughts are appreciated, organic summer. Don't know what your struggling with but hope it lifts for you. There are many unhappy issues revolving around along with the sad passing of my Dad.

Christmas is not a happy time for many people. Life's difficult circumstances do not go away on the Holidays. For some it is like a descending cloud while others celebrate. You can feel as if the Season is somehow mocking you.

I try to concentrate on the Spiritual aspects of this time of year. That it is the beginning of a Promise and a gift to Mankind. It is an offer freely given of Hope. We are not alone in the universe. Not one of us was a mistake. We were set upon this Earth with a purpose and we are all Unique and Lovable and Special.

Many Blessings for Peace in the New Year.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 2:49AM
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Dear Duane,

Thank you so much for your kind words and condolences. I know we share the same sad feelings this holiday season. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Try putting your life in God's hands and take it one day at a time. That's all we can do.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 9:22AM
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this will be the 2nd year without my Al. he was the comedian of the family, and always made fun of my decorating in a nice way -- hey can you put anymore stuff on the tree? how many santas do we have, but it was always in fun. Christmas was his favourite holiday. last year we didn't have Christmas, we opened a small gift each son and daughter and myself, his family has bannished us--we are no longer part of their family, just as well, if we wanted to be more miserable, we could see them anyday or the week. this year we actually bought a real tree (Al insisted on this -- hey we live in Northern Canada! -- real trees are everywhere), we had to buy new decorations --- bought alot at our Salvation ARmy, we couldn't bear to look at our decorations or Christmas past -- every year we each got a halmark ornament. i am putting off putting up that tree-- i just finished painting the dining room ceiling. we are having our "Special day" on December 21 (this Sunday), we are calling it - "Merry Holiday". and perhaps on Christmas Day we will go to the movies. I drive our daughter to university everyday so, i visit my Al everyday since the cemetery is just across the street from there, and it is a 3 minute car ride. i think he would be proud of the way i am coping, but i ran into an old co-worker of mine last week and she almost had me bust into tears when she said she was so sorry and that we were so much in love. i thought how many people can still say that now adays -- we had just celebrated our 25th afew months before.

i too take things still one day at a time, when Al was here we'd say well we made it through the morning, then the afternoon and then the evening.

i would like to wish you all a Merry Holiday from Canada


    Bookmark   December 15, 2008 at 11:38PM
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I'm so sorry for everyone. It's really hard just leading up to the holidays and after seems even harder and more draining then the actual day because you can't believe you did without them. This will be the first year without my Mom my best friend. I 've been reading alot of books that say there always with us , seeing everything we do watching over us and our families, I have to believe that even though it still really stinks . Look for the signs, Darzie

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 6:02PM
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My Mom passed away in May 2008 and my Dad in July 2007. It was a hard holiday to get through. I would be in the store Christmas shopping and start crying. Very hard.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 12:09AM
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I miss walking into my parents' house and hearing them talking together about everyday concerns while smelling the coffee perking on the stove. The warmth of the aroma of my childhood home. I would bring my concerns of the day to their table and listen to the advice they would give me. I could always rely on them to lift my spirits. I remember how vital, alive and involved they were with Life. I never thought those wonderful days of warmth and security would end and thought that they would never grow old or die. Remembering the busy ness of the Holiday Seasons in years past I can recall how the focus of those special days were centered around my parents' house. I never had to worry about it cause they carried the burden of entertaining all of us. Those Days were like Magic! Luckily, I have many of them captured on film. After recently viewing them, they brought tears to our eyes. That wonderful place where we all got together to meet and celebrate is now gone forever. We are on our own with families of our own now. It is our turn to make the memories for our own children and grandchildren to cherish.

So, now I know an era has ended and it is my time to move up to the head of the table. Am I up for the task? At times, I wonder. I still want to be the child who has a place to run to...where the smell of that special blend of coffee is perking forever on the stove.....with the voices of my parents in the background...calming me with the feeling that this magic will never end.

God Bless All who mourn for that special time when we felt forever Children.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 2:10AM
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I'm glad the holidays are over. It's a new year. 2008 was the worst year of my only son died in September. I dreaded Christmas the most, but somehow my loving supportive family helped me through it. This year will bring more "firsts"...Easter, his birthday, mother's day, father's day, my birthday, his angelversary (the day after my birthday). So, I am just praying for the strength to get me through this year too.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 11:18AM
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Is anybody else on this forum the last remaining family member due to a recent loss ????? If so I could really use some advice on getting back on track!!!!

It's especially hard for me now, I had a small family to begin with consisting of my mother, older brother and me. We all had health problems but moms and brothers were the worst and I was caregiver but lookin back I feel I could've done better. We lived in a condo together and turned the downstairs into a hospital bedroom for mom until she started having frequent mini-strokes and had to have 24hr. care, then her cancer returned and took her in 2004. While it was tough I had my older brother Mike 58 to console me Mark 54 but we both grieved constantly, after all we were all we had left except for our kids and Mike's were kind of far away and didn't care to visit because of his cirohsis and they didn't like seeing him that way (geee)

Mike's cirohsis got much worse and we fought to get him on Johns Hopkins Liver transplant list,but after taking all tests we didn't hear anything back from them after making many attempts. My brothers ability to walk with his walker now was seriously in jeopardy now and I was in a constant state of denial and when I got flashes of his passing I got mentally upset and lost my ability to deal with the my caregiving duties until I gathered myself. I couldn't face the possibility of my brothers death and me being completely alone so I blocked it out totally.

That weekend I was helping him back from the bathroom and he stsrted talking and not making any sense and after several attempts he managed to tell me to call rescue, but I remembered the last time this happened he responded to me when raising my voice and kinda snapped back but it didn't work this time, my brother fell into coma and passed 2 weeks later. He was so much to me because we lost our dad when I was 11 and he was 15 and I looked to him as father figure and then we became work partners and later to become growing old together until now. He was always there for me and we both realized we were all that remained from our deceased parents and tried to console each other but he always seemed to keep calm where I had anxiety and he calmed me down.

I am totally by myself now and feel like I am loosing it because I feel I should've paid more attention to those feelings I had that Mike was nearing death instead of blocking them out, I should've had him re admitted back to the hospital even though I had just brought him home a week ago. Then He had a few good days to make me think he wasn't getting worse and the back and forthness of this disease drove me to the brink and I would find my ability to deal with his next downturn almost impossible because that sinking feeling of the worst reality that my brothers death returned made me want to knock it away and made me lose my temper knowing I was loosing the battle.

Since his passing on October 18 I constantly have feelings of guilt like something I did or didn't could've prevented his coma and I keep replaying it over in my mind constantly, and the constant solitude is neverending, but when I try to go outside I feel like the "Stranger in a Strange Land" and hurry to get back home where no-one is.

I agree with the other poster that this is the worst year of my life and after 2 1/2 months since my brothers passing I can't tell if I am making any progress in my grieving because being totally alone it's so hard to tell. I saw my kids for a few hours for a late Christmas visit because they always visit their mom and her most recently divorced husband for the holidays first, and I could tell they were slowly getting bummed out by me and my problems but I guess I have to try and pretend I feel alright.

I am sorry for everyones losses and I hope the New Year is a better one and I thank you for listening and welcome any and all responses.

Sorry for the long read


    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 1:39PM
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Dear Mark,

I am very sorry for your tremendous loss. You must keep in mind that everyone grieves in their own way, and it takes a long time to heal. You can't pretend to be happy when you're not. It's only natural that you are lonely and sad so shortly after your brother's death. You need to tell your children and friends this.

You shouldn't feel guilty. You did all you could for your mother and brother. Please don't keep beating yourself up.

I hope you find peace in the new year.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 4:27PM
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Yes, the holidays are very difficult for me, although as the years have gone by I do manage to find joy. My mother first began acting strangely on Thanksgiving of 2003, the ensuing weeks were spent desperately trying to find out what was wrong with her, and she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor two days before Christmas, 2003. Believe me, every year I remember where I was and what I was doing on that day x amount of years ago. But the pain stings a little less each year and I don't focus on it as much as I used to. Certain things do make me burst into tears unexpectedly. Grief is like a blister on your foot; it heals over, but you're always aware it's there, beneath the surface, and every now and then something causes it to break open again.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:25AM
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I lost my dad in April of 2008 (full story in the "death from an accident" post. Everyone said that after the first year and especially after getting through the first holidays, it gets easier. Now that we've gone through all the holidays (including his birthday on New Year's Eve), I can see what they mean. Going through the entire holiday season without him (not seeing him or even hearing his voice) drives home the reality that he is not here, and it seems more real now than before. There's a new sense of sadness that accompanies that increased reality, yet at the same time the realization that this is a new year and our lives will continue to go on, but he will never be forgotten.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 10:17PM
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After reading through these posts I can see alot of people going through differing amounts of pain from the loss of their loved ones over these holidays.

I want to thank Katy for her kind words in reply to me loosing my brother and mother in a reletively close period in time and hope she finds the strength with her family to endure the loss of her son, also hope we can all get some good from our grieving.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 3:01PM
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I am so sorry for each and every loss you all have experienced. If I could see you in person, I'd give you a big hug.

I posted my story on a thread above. We have found out that my beloved husband has terminal cancer, so I feel like this was our last holiday season together. It's hard to describe knowing that someone you love and adore is going to be gone soon. Some days, I feel like screaming at everyone I see, I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. It's the worst feeling of dread and horror I could have ever imagined. The only relief is at night, after I take my sleeping pills. Being unconcious is the only peace I get.

I wish I had the magic words for all of us, to make our hurt go away. We're all in a club we never wanted to be in. But, we can show each other care and compassion that others don't understand. I pray that all of you find some kind of comfort and your pain eases day by day.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 10:21PM
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