November 27


Grief is sucky (and sneaky)

By Jessica Allen

November 27, 2022

I donated all our Christmas ornaments last year, with intent to shop after-Christmas sales for new decor.

It will not surprise you that I did NOT remember to shop the after-Christmas sales for new decor. I did not remember this until Thanksgiving day. So I have a beautiful, fresh-cut tree in my living room, and nothing to put on it.

Well, not nothing. I have lights, and my music ribbon that’s made it 17 Christmases now. And I have all our real treasures – the hand-embroidered heirloom ornaments from my grandmother, and our keepsake birds for each of our children, special gifts and travel souvenirs, and the sweet handmade crafts the kids have brought home over the years.

We also have an almost-walker in the house again, which means the bottom third of the tree will be naked anyway.

All signs are pointing to a year of simplicity. And as fun as it would be to go nuts on a new theme for our tree, I think we’re gonna be just fine without it.

I get a little funny about putting up the tree anyway – there’s lots of LJ that goes on the tree, along with all my babies, and our memories from nearly 18 years as a family. When G started pulling baubles out of the bins last night, singing All I Want for Christmas is You (blech), I got real panicky, territorial almost, and felt that all-too-familiar lump in my throat. She asked if I’d join her and I wanted to burst into tears and run away.

GRIEF IS SUCKY, guys. It’s such an a**hole, sneaking up and lurking around inside CHRISTMAS CHEER for Lord’s sake.

I shoved half a chocolate pie into my mouth, swallowed my tears, and joined my sweet daughter to decorate “Shortstack,” as the children decided to name her.

Shortstack’s a little bare, and a little lopsided (I’ll fix it), and I had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands to keep from adjusting what G put up. I did explain why I’m weird about their little bird ornaments, and she respected my wish even though I’m sure she thinks I’m crazy.

There are some things I think I’ll just always be a little crazy about, I guess.

One day at a time, right? We grit our teeth through the tough stuff and keep going. Because in between those hard moments is a whole lot of magic I never want to miss.

May you have enough pie for the sucky moments and joy enough to lift you everywhere else.

HP, J 🎄

Jessica Allen

About the author

Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have four children: LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and Elisha.

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