When Christmas time isn’t all merry and bright.

Ah yes, the holiday season.

Brisk snowfalls that make you want to snuggle up by the fire.

Joyful music on the radio.

Much need breaks from school or work.

Time spent with family.

Oh yes, time spent with family.

Over the recent years the holidays in our house have gotten smaller and smaller, and it aches my soul. I have an extremely large family on my moms side and yet the gatherings just don’t happen anymore. I have cousins and an uncle from my Dads side that I haven’t seen for years, just because circumstances make it difficult.

A time of year that used to be full of laughs and smiles has become a time of year I look forward to getting through without completely breaking down.

There are empty seats of which just a few years before had been filled with family. Laughing children and the excitement of what Christmas day will bring is something that I have lost, bringing me to grave sadness.

Please do not misunderstand. I love Christmas! The joy of celebrating our dear Saviors birth. The worship that takes place in the church Is that of which I will always find joy it. And yet I struggle to find much more beyond that.

And I have recently come to the realization that I can be okay with feel the sorrow I feel around the holiday seasons.

After recently looking back through some of my blog posts I noticed a common theme In my writing, they all have happy endings. A common closing theme of which I make clear the bright side of things.

I have realized that I tend to write strictly about the situations of which end up good for me.

The joy I had found in finding a church family of whom fully embraces me.

The comfort of learning more and more about yourself so that you can better heal from past wounds.

The overwhelming love the comes from being profoundly loved by people.

All extremely true points and all thing that I have struggled with and grown to heal more from. But all things that have led me to bigger and better realizations.

You see, I haven’t had that when it comes to the pain I find myself feeling around the holidays. I have yet to have a life-altering moment of which provides me with extreme comfort in the mist of the grieving that takes place.

I haven’t had a single Thanksgiving or Christmas, for as long as I can remember, in which I have not wept over the pain of not having beloved family members in my presence to celebrate. Whether that be circumstances have not brought us together or they have moved on from there time on earth.

I still have gratitude for the things I do have. I look forward to the presence, in our home, of the two little children who have been brought into our family. And I love deeply those of whom have joined my family in the past years. But I still weep, and I still feel pain.

And that is ok.

You see, normally I would go on to explain that in the mist of all my sorrows I have found comfort in the fact that God has brought me this road for a reason, or I would state that while this season may be hard now, it will be something I will grow to learn from. And who knows, maybe this a season will bring me an amount of joy that I have been missing for so long. But for now, I grieve.

I allow myself the space to weep as we put up my fathers favorite Christmas books.

And I will give myself time to fathom what would have been if those people hadn’t been taken from our lives.

And I will allow myself to leave it at that, I will not judge my sadness or push myself to find the joy in something that my soul is aching to weep over.

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I am strong, but I am weak.

We have all heard the speeches. The clich├ęs.

“This will only make you stronger.”

“You will grow so much from this experience.”

“Think of all the people you will be able to relate to from this experience.”

Any of that sound familiar? Both arms up over here.

At the age of eighteen I have experienced my fair share of hardships. They don’t seem to come with much of a break period and they come crashing all in one treacherous wave.

It is overwhelming and stressful. And yet something I have grown to deal with.

After loosing a parent so young I heard every single one in the book.

“He is in a better place.”

“Just think, all his pain is gone.”

“He is always with you in your heart.”

All true, and genuine attempts to make light of a dreadful situation. And yet, somehow, they all seem to make things worse.

Because, you see, I love that I am able to help people due to the fact that I can empathize when others may only be able to give their best sympathies..

There is power in being able to say to someone “I understand, I have been there.” “Me too.” Or even just, “That sucks.”

As apposed to the heartfelt, but rarely helpful. “Be grateful for what you have.”

It’s nice to know that I am making someone feel a little more comfortable in their dreadful time, knowing that they are not alone.

And yet at what cost?

My reminders to others that it is totally normal to sit and cry when it hits them that their parent isn’t there to see them off to their first day of high school is my reminder to myself that my dad isn’t here to see me off to my first day of college.

My encouragement to others that they can be self sufficient women in society without the man that is laying hands on them and pinning them to a bed every night is my reminder to myself that I left him when maybe he would have changed.

Please, know, I am fully aware of the premature growth I have experienced due to the events in my life.

But what if, just for one month.

One week.

One day.

I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to be mature. What if for one day I just want to be a normal eighteen year old girl.

Seems almost like a fathom of my imagination at this point.

Please know, I am not saying that I do not enjoy being able to help others. I thrive off of knowing that I was put on this earth to help others. But I can’t help but feel strongly that sometimes I just need someone to tell that it is normal to still him my dad everyday, even after eight year. Someone to tell that I am better off without the man that would hit me at my slightest mistake. Someone to lend me a shoulder and tell me that my tears are acceptable.

Maybe it’s time for the fighter to be fought for, the holder to be held and the lover to be loved. -Unknown

You see, sometimes we can have a heart of gold. A mind full of determination to help others, and being able to relate off of personal experience only opens the playing field that much more. But, sometimes, even the strongest of souls need someone to lean in and say “me too”.

What if we changed the way we viewed suicide?

***Trigger warning***

I have often heard people refer to those who have died by suicide as selfish.

Why is that?

It truely doesn’t make sense to me.

“Don’t beat yourself over their choice. It was selfish of them.”

“Don’t get too down about it they knew that they were hurting people when they did it.”

Or the worst thing of all, to say to somebody who has just attempted.

“Why would you try to take your own life. What were you trying to do just leave me here?”

Seems awful. I know. But believe it or not these are all things that people have said to me or to those I care for greatly.

As somebody that had lost friends by suicide and somebody that has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past I can tell you with 100% confidence that none of those words are at all helpful. And to be quite frank I struggle to see why anyone would even think that those words would be helpful in the first place.

While I struggle greatly I also reach my hand out to extend grace to those who say those words. As they may not know the power of what they are saying. Or maybe they are struggling with their own loss and that is just how they are coping.

Understandable.

But what if we changed the way that people viewed suicide.

You see people that take their lives don’t die from suicide. They die by suicide.

They die from depression. Anxiety. Trauma. Addiction.

Ok what’s the difference?

To say somebody died from suicide would be to say that suicide is what killed them.

Now while to some extent this is true that is not what killed them. What killed them was the months or years of torture. Whether that be from mental illness or bullying at school. Suicide is the way the handle it. And unfortunately it is a coping mechanism that once complete can’t be taken back.

And I think that is what people struggle to realize.

Now yes, I realize this is a pretty risky thing to post as I know it is something that people have very strong feelings toward, but I’m not going to hold back.

I am not trying to say that people can not have their own feelings about different topics but somebody has to speak up for those that can’t speak up for themselves.

While I pray nobody ever has to experience grieving the loss of somebody that died by suicide I also pray that if one should come across this post and then one day relate to it that they would have a new understanding of the pain filled process that those that battle everyday feel.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or plans please call the number above. There is help. You are worth it.