Sensations more painful

A tree entwined with headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, April 2012

A tree entwined with headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, April 2012

“There are few sensations more painful, than, in the midst of deep grief, to know that the season which we have always associated with mirth and rejoicing is at hand.”
Sarah Josepha Hale

This week, a dear friend of ours lost her close and steadfast friend of over 37 years, after a courageous battle with illness.  In the midst of our deep gratitude and joy at Jeff’s improved prognosis, we grieve with our friend in her time of bereavement.  Probably almost all of us know someone who is struggling with grief and sorrow at this time of year, when it may seem to them that everyone else is celebrating life.

In researching the quote above, I found it interesting that the woman most associated with creating a national holiday of Thanksgiving has also reminded us that there are many who face lonely and painful times at Christmas.  Something about the holiday sharpens the sense of loss we feel.  I doubt that I will ever forget the difficult and painful times I have known on Christmas Eves in years past, including the evening in 2010 when we learned that our beloved friend had a brain tumor.

As we observe our holiday celebrations, let’s be especially mindful of those who are enduring sorrow, grief and suffering.  Perhaps one gift you can give this season is a brief but heartfelt note to someone who is struggling.  Perhaps you can make a phone call, visit or similar gesture to show them they are not forgotten and alone.

The comfort we have felt from the caring words of friends here and elsewhere offered us solace that we hope will be there for others who need it.  If you know someone who is struggling and would appreciate a handwritten card, even from someone they do not know, you are welcome to send me their name and address (I will edit it out of the comments) and I will be happy to write to them.

Thanks for sharing our sorrows as well as our joys over the past  year.  For those who are in the midst of sadness in this season, our hearts are with you, and we pray that you will find peace and consolation.

One year ago today

Every year I dream

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Wow, Julia, I can’t imagine how frustrating and draining it would be, to have to drive back to Bethesda when it’s “time for” setting that aside and relaxing at Christmas!
    Somehow you made it through.
    I’ve been force feeding a sick cat for almost three weeks, every few hours during my waking hours. I’m sneaking these moments to read and write in before officially getting up….
    Too tired to make the Christmas cookies I had a hankering for last week. There will be other Christmases (who knows what they will be like?), and taking care of a cat is useful for keeping me to busy to lament the social aspects of the season that I’m missing this year.
    Thank you for sharing these moments with me!
    Blessings on your final week of Advent, 2020, and much love to you!

    • Susan, a few thoughts — first of all, THANK YOU for taking care of that cat! Consider it your Christmas present to me! I can’t bear for an animal to suffer, especially a sweet kitty or doggy! Secondly, I hearby invite you to a festive baking session (at my home or yours or somewhere in the northeast 😀 ) at some yet to be determined Christmas Future! We shall make all our traditional favorites and then box them up in festive packaging to distribute to anyone who is still willing to trust home-baked goods in favor of factory packaging! And then we shall go out caroling from home to home, in whatever neighborhood we are, and hopefully with some like-minded joyful souls! Til then, Blessings on your Advent too! “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God Bless Us Every One.’ ” ❤

      • Aw, thank you for the invitation. I accept!
        Door to door caroling is likely to be more fun in your climate than either of the other two. This morning in Minnesota I woke up to -3 outside!

        • Wow, that makes today’s 40 degree weather balmy by comparison. On Christmas Eve we enjoyed temperatures at 70 degrees or even more! But Christmas brought the cold back. More appropriate, I guess, but enjoyed that warm day on Thursday. Although I had to tell Matt it meant we would not have a fire in the fireplace! We made up for it last night. 😀

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