To those for whom grief is like an unwanted gift that is opened anew each morning after that split-second moment of half-asleep-magic when they forget their loved one is dead, for whom the empty place at the table or the missing face in holiday photos is a bottomless pit of horror and unbearable sadness.
To those who have lost a child or a pregnancy, for whom the line-ups for photos with Santa at the mall are agony, for whom the empty cradles and the never-to-be-worn tiny socks are constant reminders of unspeakable loss.
To those whose depression and anxiety make it difficult to survive the day, let alone crack a forced smile at the checkout counter, pick up the phone to receive a holiday greeting, check the mail, go to a holiday party, get up off the couch or emerge from underneath the blankets.
To those who are terrified of facing the holiday parties, the buffets of food, the incessant questions about how much or how little you weigh, if you’re going to just “get over” your eating disorder and eat a fucking meal for once.
To those who are alone, those who have no phone calls or cards, no visiting friends or families, who feel that ache of being entirely forgotten.
To those who lie awake afraid, afraid of the bills that are piling up, the rent that must be paid, the children that are sick, the job that has been lost, the empty fridge, the bullies at school, the fighting parents, the swinging fists, afraid of the addiction, the alcoholism, the rage, the uncertainty.
To those who must hide their scars or their fresh cuts and burns under holiday sweaters.
To those whose anniversaries of trauma, of rape, of assault, fall at this time of year, and whose nights are filled with nightmares, for whom the falling snow, the twinkling lights, the holiday carols are reminders of anything but festivities.
To those who heartbroken, those who have been lied to, cheated on, had their trust ripped out of their chests and their beliefs in romance trampled on, who must face the holiday stories of engagements and weddings with a lump in their throat and anger-bitten tongues.
To those who are dying, who know that this is, or may be, the last holiday season they will have to spend with their loved ones.
To those who want to die and who are holding on, holding on, holding on. Please hold on.
Resources in British Columbia: