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Christmas - It’s the most wonderful time of the year! So the song goes. But for many people, though, Christmas isn’t a wonderful time at all. 
If you’ve suffered a close bereavement, whether it’s the first Christmas since your loss or many years have passed, Christmas can be one of the hardest times of the year. 
Christmas is a time to spend with those we love the most. So, how can anyone be expected to cope during the holidays when a loved one has died? How can we celebrate togetherness, when it feels like we’re apart? 
When you are grieving, alongside the overwhelming sense of missing the one you love, comes the crushing awareness of all that you’ve lost. You may feel stunned at the normality of life around you, as people go about their business, totally unaware that your world has stopped. For some, there is no worse time of the year to highlight this than Christmas. 
For many people this is the hardest time, and a time when we miss our loved ones even more than usual; Christmas can feel like something to endure rather than enjoy. For some, it will be the first Christmas without a loved one. For everyone else, we’ll be remembering the people who aren’t sat around the table with us, or who are no longer sat at our table. And then there are the families and friends who are caring for those who might not make it through to the New Year due to ill health or old age. 
Here today, know that you are not alone in your grief. Know that we are thinking of you all. 
Here is a poem by Margaret Read that has been adapted for Christmas – 
Remember Me 
To the living, I am gone. 
To the sorrowful, I will never return. 
To the angry, they were cheated. 
But to the joyful, I am at peace. 
And to the faithful, I never left. 
I cannot speak, but I can listen. 
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard. 
So as you begin Christmas preparations …….remember me, 
As you come together as family, …….remember me, 
In the decorating of the Christmas tree and in the sending of Christmas messages, …….remember me, 
In the carving of the turkey and the raising of glasses, …….remember me, 
In the telling of stories around the table, …….remember me, 
In the celebrating of Christmas and the ringing in of the New Year, …….remember me, 
For as long as you live, I too, shall live, for I am now a part of you, as you remember me. 
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, 
Remember the close, loving times we shared; 
The times we cried; the times we laughed; 
For in these times that you gently remember me 
….I am not gone. 
May you find some joy in the season. May you find some peace in it's reason. May you find blessings in Christmas. 
Thinking of you – big hugs from Jan xx 
This short verse may well represent your own feelings at this time. 
Every day without you 
Since you had to go, 
Is like summer without sunshine 
And Christmas without snow. 
I wish that I could talk to you 
There’s so much I would say, 
Life has changed so very much 
Since you went away. 
I miss the bond between us 
And I miss your kind support. 
You’re in my mind and in my heart 
And every Christmas thought. 
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