It can be hard to find the right words this time of year. “Merry” and “Christmas” are two that come to mind. If you celebrate Christmas and are feeling merry, especially if you’re merry because your children are doing well and you are looking forward to being together as a family for Christmas, we rejoice with you and wish you the merriest of Christmases.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas and maybe feel a bit out of sync this time of the year, please know that we are thankful for you. We are thankful for your family and that you’ve allowed us to share in your journey. Thank you for all that makes you uniquely “you” and for what you bring that helps us all work together to make things better for all of our children.
If you are not feeling merry, we will stand by your side, at Christmas and all the other days of the year. You may be worried about your child’s physical or mental health. Your child may not be living with you due to being in treatment, incarcerated or living with someone else. You may not be sure where your child is because they tend to run. Your family may all be together, but things are tense or volatile or sad. We have no magic answers because there are none, but we will stand with you. We hope that you and your child experience some sweet moments together over the holidays. Even fleeting moments can bring hope and give something to build on. Be gentle with yourself and know you are not alone.
It is a heartbreaking reality that some of you face Christmas without your child because your child died due to suicide, addiction, violence against them, illness or some other cause that took them far too soon. There are no words to touch that kind of loss and pain. But please know, our hearts are with you and we are thinking about you and your child. We will say their names, honor their memories, and learn from you whatever you most want us to know about them and their lives.
Christmas can be so sweet and joyful. It can also be hard and painful. It can be everything in between, even when we are not in the middle of a global pandemic. But we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Things are harder and more complicated than they usually are, even if they are happy.
So in a time filled with many emotions and more than a little uncertainty, I am certain of a few things. Personally and on behalf of Families as Allies, I am grateful for every family who is part of us and for all of you who partner with us. I am always touched by what happens when people share themselves. I want anyone who feels alone to feel less alone, and I want Families as Allies to be the kind of place where people feel less alone.
I wish that in the next few days, you will have moments, maybe even many moments, of hope and peace, even if they are only glimmers.