Grief in Christmas

I have noticed this holiday season, friends and acquaintances are posting on social media about missing someone during the holidays more than Decembers in the past. They might be grieving a spouse, a parent, a friend, another family member, or even a child. I just want to take a moment to tell you if grief is your companion this December, you are not alone. I don’t tell you this to say that everything will be okay or to encourage you to find some holiday cheer. You may want to do that, and that’s okay. You may not, and that’s okay too. During this time, it’s important to listen to your own heart and soul as to what is best for you. If going to parties keeps your mind off of things, that’s wonderful. If staying home hugging your cat brings you more comfort, that’s wonderful too. You know what’s right for you, and as good as the intentions might be, don’t let someone else to tell you otherwise.

It’s going to be hard, but trust me, you can make it through this. When you are in the middle of it, that’s close to impossible to believe. I know this from firsthand experience. However, I do know if you get up every morning, put one foot in front of the other, learn to smile again, and notice pockets of beauty in the world, you will come out on the other side of this. You will be a different person than you were before your profound loss but a survivor too.

That doesn’t mean grief won’t resurface with no warning and bring you to your knees. This will be an aspect of the rest of your life that no one else will understand until they’ve gone through it for themselves. And we would not wish this pain on our worst enemy, would we?

This is my thirteenth Christmas without my father and my ninth without my mother. All of their Christmas traditions that we still do are a mix between sweet memories and sharp punches to the chest. I cry a lot this season. Every year without fail. Nearly a decade later, I cry myself to sleep like the loss was yesterday. Some days, I feel as broken as I was standing beside the bed where my mother died. It’s a fact of my life, one that I’m blessed enough to have a husband who accepts and comforts me during and one where my faith sees me through. It may be your new reality too, and my prayers are with you.

In particular, my prayer for you this season is acceptance, comfort, and faith to guide you through. You will arrive on the other side of the holidays. January is coming.

Love, Amanda

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Violet Waverly sleuths a Thoreau-ly puzzling Christmastime murder in Agatha Award-winning, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s fifth Magical Bookshop mystery.

Christmas is coming to the Western New York village of Cascade Springs, and so is the long-awaited wedding of Charming Books proprietor Violet Waverly and police chief David Rainwater. Grandma Daisy and Violet’s best friend, Sadie, go all out to make the nuptials the event of the season–whether Violet likes it or not. But the reception becomes memorable for all the wrong reasons when a woman’s dead body floats by on the frigid Niagara River.

Violet is shocked to recognize the deceased as a mysterious woman who visited Charming Books two days before the wedding, toting a rare first edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Well aware that a mint condition copy could be worth more than $14,000, Violet told the woman she would have to have the book appraised before she could consider buying it. Most displeased, the woman tucked the precious tome under her arm and stormed out of the shop. Now she’s dead, and an enigmatic message scrawled in pen upon her palm reads, “They stole my book.”

It’s a confounding case, indeed. But fortunately, Violet can draw on the resources of her bookshop’s magical consciousness, which communicates clues to Violet via quotes from Walden. With Emerson the tuxedo cat and Faulkner the crow at her side, Violet sets out to recover the priceless book by solving a murder most transcendental.


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