My mother died eight years ago this December. I don't understand why I feel her loss more keenly some years than others, but this is one of those years. The tree isn't up. The cards aren't out. I just want to cry myself to sleep and forget all of it.
I don't post that looking for anything, just by way of explanation. Nonetheless I know I'll get a number of exquisitely kind emails asking me, "What I can do?" And the answer is: for me, nothing, truly. But there is one thing you could maybe do. I know every single person here has been touched by someone who died in the last few years, maybe even at Christmas time. That dearly departed left behind another person, and that "survived by" may be hurting. Send that person a card. Handwrite it and just say that you are thinking of them and the person they lost. Just say you remember, that you too are thinking of the lost person, that the recipient is not alone in their loss.
Because if I had to pick my least favorite thing about living here it would be that nobody here ever knew my mother and how utterly wonderful and clever and perfectly imperfect she was. Oh, just to have someone tell me something I did or one of my children's features reminded them of my mother! --I know it won't happen here. And so this time of year, even with early snows and decorations and carols and such, always feels a little lonely, like I'm the only person who recognizes that someone is missing, someone else should be here.
You can't change that for me, but you can change it for someone else. Please do.