Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She’s a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.
It’s the Wednesday before Christmas, and crunch-time is upon us. In general it’s been a pretty smooth December over here (all that overanalysis about how to keep things in perspective during Advent actually paid off!) but this week I find myself racing around to tie up a few loose ends that slipped through the cracks earlier this month. It’s a little overwhelming to think that before Sunday, I need to send out the last of the Christmas cards, mail gifts to people out of town, make that favorite biscotti recipe for my 98-year-old grandfather, and wrap every single one of the mountain of presents that has taken over half of my closet.
As we scramble around to get everything taken care of, it’s easy to overlook people in our lives who made need extra comfort this season. For those who have lost loved ones through death or divorce, this may be the hardest part of their entire year. In particular, I’ve heard many folks who have had tragedy strike early in the year say that Christmas is almost as hard as when the event first transpired: It’s their first Christmas without their loved-ones, yet they don’t have that same outpouring of support that they did at the time of the loss. “I felt enveloped with love and support after my sister died in February,” an acquaintance once explained, “but when Christmas rolled around, it seemed that everyone had forgotten about my loss. I felt so alone.”
I mentioned this on my personal blog last week, and was pointed to a powerful piece by a mother who lost a son a couple of years ago. In the post, she strongly encouraged readers to send an email or a note of encouragement to those who are mourning lost loved ones this holiday season.
Inspired by these words of wisdom, I’m going to write a list of the contact information of people I know who may be aching for lost loved ones, and bring it with me to my Christmas celebrations. And in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas day, I’ll carve out time to send an email or make a quick phone call to let them know I’m thinking of them, and that they’re in my prayers. Will you join me? It’s a little gesture, but hopefully one that will bring some small measure of comfort to those who are struggling this Christmas.
UPDATED 12/22/2011 to remove excerpts at the request of the authors.