A Christmas Message To You


I did not send out Christmas Cards this year so consider this our Christmas card.
I look outside at the silent whiteness and feel a great emptiness. Loss can be all-consuming and I waiver on the blurry edges of this new world and the one I had. My heart longs to go back and have a do over. I want to change things and put things the way they were but the pieces of this puzzle fall between my fingers as I try to hold tightly to the past that I wish so much was the present and the future.
In this new world I see friendship differently. I see life lines. I see compassion. I see those who have stepped up and those who have stepped back… and I understand both sides. The rose-colored glasses are off and my world is at times painfully real.
I don’t want this to be a sad message. I want it to be one of hope. For whatever reason, my time here on this earth remains. I don’t necessarily want… I would readily trade it – but it seems that is not meant to be.
And with that I look cautiously towards this new uncertain world. I cannot will not let go of what was. It is too much engraved in this beating heart and to take that away – would stop this heart forever. However, I can look at the blessings sprinkled throughout this new world. The connections with Justin’s friends, the courageous people I have met with their own stories of loss, the people and community who have held us a little closer, the ability to see somewhat of a path I hope to travel that will honor my son for all the years I have left until I can be with him again.
This post is not going as I planned.
What I want to say is this.
THIS Christmas, share a little more of you. DO something kind for a stranger. BE a little more open. Hug a little longer, laugh a little louder, and LOVE with all you have.
NEVER NEVER take any moment for granted. Each memory is precious so open your eyes to it and embrace each day for all it is worth. Your memories are treasures and you have the power to build on them. SO build.
Merry Christmas.
The DeChantal’s….. Al, Sheila, Brad, and Justin….. ALWAYS


My attendance at this site has been spotty at best this year.  When I think “I am back”, I am not back.  I write reviews in my head for hours after I read a book… what I will say, what funny punch line I will give…. but for whatever reason I don’t sit down and review it.  I hope that changes soon.  I am still here.  I still want to be that voice on this page that talks books and life and heartbreak and finding my way… and I hope you will all continue to stop in and see me here in 2016. 

21 thoughts on “A Christmas Message To You

    1. Sheila, I wish you and your family the best holiday possible. Please be kind and gentle with yourselves and each other. Hugs.

  1. My mother’s heart hears your pain. I am amazed at the steps you take each day on your new life path. May you always know how much we care about you and all the lovely words you share about Justin. This joyous season is a difficult one for you so I appreciate your words to others to seize each day with love and presence. God bless you and your family.

  2. I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago, mainly for your book reviews and then realized you had lost a son. This year my son is in Iraq. It is the first Christmas he isn’t home with us. A week ago his best friend committed suicide. A young man who had everything to live for but couldn’t overcome his depression. I have never been so sad at Christmas. It has opened me to understanding the pain some feel during a time of year most think is filled with joy. Reading your Christmas message has really resonated with me. I must embrace this year with my family and friends and know that next year my son will be here, and I will hug him extra hard. Keep blogging! Your a wonderful writer and have so much to share. Merry Christmas!

  3. I feel your sadness and loss so keenly, Sheila. Although I’ve never been one to take life for granted, your messages this year have reminded me to cherish my little boys growing quickly into men just that much more. I look more deeply at them when they don’t know I am. I smile, hug and encourage them just that much more now. I am willing to forget their little annoyances, and keep stacking one memory on top of another for them as best as I can so that if a day comes when we are no longer physically together, they or I will have our hearts filled with memories. Thank you for sharing that little piece of Justin’s life with me so that I can remember how precious my sons are every single day. With all my heart, Belle.

  4. What a beautiful post, Sheila. You have made great progress over the past few months. No, it isn’t easy, but though we think we cannot “make it” after the loss of a child, time will teach us to live with our loss. We will never forget, we will never be the same, but we can go on with the support of family and friends, and with the strength of the club, to which we now belong, of parents who have lost children but understand perfectly the depth of our sadness. Thinking of you and sending hugs.

  5. I love the message of this post. We can’t take anything for granted and must all live life to its fullest. Surround yourself with loving friends and family and you will heal. ❤

  6. Thank you for the reminder to love and treasure those we love while we have them with us. Thinking of you and your family as you make your way through this season.

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