Alongside of the day your loved one passed away, and their birthday, the holidays can bring to the surface the pain you have learned to canvas so well the remainder of the year. You are not alone in your sentiment towards the holidays, nor are you wrong to dislike the duration of the festivities.

By in large, the Holidays in spirit are meant to be a time of reflection and gratitude for those who are in our lives, and the blessings we have. But it’s easy for those around you to overlook your suffering due to the same reflection. Forgive them, they know not what they do.

Prior to the loss of my son, I was an advocate for buying Christmas gifts year round. January 1 started a whole new year of collecting items that would show my love and consideration for the people I loved the most. My son died, while a closet full of his gifts sat in my closet. They sat there for over 3 years before I broke down and finally gave them to my youngest son. The thought of opening gifts without him now is a debilitation. I force myself to buy gifts now, but the second I have them I HAVE to give them to the recipient. The thought of them not receiving their gifts and knowing how much I love them is terrifying.

I still shop for him and wonder what he would like. I look at clothes that I think would fit him, and dream about the little man he would be now.

All of the time I spent shopping for boys that would be his age became a compulsion that ended with me leaving the store with empty arms and a shattered soul. There is no consolation for that kind of hurt. But I was exchanging time for the same hurt I have anyway, and compounding the problem. I decided that every year, I would find a person to dump that energy into. Some years, I buy the gifts I would have given to my son and donate them to the Christmas Wish Tree, (an organization that takes down age and gender of children who need gifts for Christmas, and you able to gift to them.) Other years, I will find someone that isn’t a direct line to my son, maybe a little girl or a family, and spend the same energy and love shopping for them.

It was many years before I could deliver the gifts myself, it felt selfish on my part to take any joy from watching them open gifts that I purchased out of my own heartache. But eventually, I was able to take part in their joy.

Regardless of the origin of kindness, the joy is pure. The joy is contagious.

I will always long for my son’s incredible generosity for all gifts he received, and his ability to make you feel like you had just given him the world, even if all he received was a yo-yo. But in his death, the collateral beauty lives on in the broadcast of my love for him to whoever will receive it.

Find peace in knowing that your greatest gifts and treasures are in heaven, and the time you received was a gift you would never exchange.

Matthew 6:19-20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth. and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.