Wordsmith help with holiday greetings requested
December 23, 2017 6:19 AM   Subscribe

My mom died in October, help me write my holiday cards.

I'm usually pretty good at writing, but I'm drawing a blank. My mom died suddenly at the end of October. We're all adjusting to what I refer to as "the new normal" and doing as well as can be expected.

I want to send holiday cards to a few family members who live out of town. I am not a religious person and the cards I bought have simple holiday wishes already in them. I want to say, "Hey I know this Christmas will suck for all of us, but my mom is with us in our hearts and memories and we'll all be ok". Because that is exactly how I feel about it. Only that sounds a little harsh and I'm sure there is a much more eloquent way to say it.

Can you offer any suggestions for a one or two sentence phrase that is light, kind, respectful and not religious?

Thank you in advance MeFi.
posted by NoraCharles to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I’m so sorry for your loss. I actually think your draft language is 100% fine, but here’s an alternative:

“This year has been hard for our family. However, [Mother] loved this time of year, and I’ve found comfort in happy Christmastime memories of her — I hope you have, too. Looking forward to 2018!”
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:22 AM on December 23, 2017 [13 favorites]

Best answer: I, too, am 100% fine with your draft. I'd swap in "be tough" for "suck" for a few relatives if you think they'd disapprove of the language.

My friends and I are now at the beginning of the era where it's our parents who are dying, and I've heard "This sucks and I'm sorry" being spoken at visitations so I think many are desensitized to it now.

Good thoughts to you from the Jersey side of the Philly burbs.
posted by kimberussell at 6:34 AM on December 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Do you have any Christmas-related memories of your mom? You could insert those into your message, especially if they tie in with the recipient.

"This Christmas follows a sad time for us all, but I find myself remembering Mom's [wassail punch/xmas pudding/carol singing/xmas cookies/love of snow] with warmth and love. I'm grateful for the many memories of her I share with you."
posted by bunderful at 6:37 AM on December 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

Best answer: (I'm sorry for your loss. Honestly after the loss of a loved one I am not terribly critical of what people put in their xmas cards and am impressed if they send any at all).
posted by bunderful at 6:43 AM on December 23, 2017 [14 favorites]

Best answer: I’m sorry for your loss.

I think it’s helpful to remember the thing about circles of grief here. As a person closest to your mom, I think you’re allowed to express your feelings in whatever way it makes sense to you to people in a more outer circle of grief. Your text certainly goes against the conventions of the very formal, polite talk we’re “supposed to” use when talking about loss, but to my mind, that makes it ring truer. It sucks big time and saying that cuts through a lot of the more stilted language that usually exists here.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:53 AM on December 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Hey there -- sorry for your loss. My Mom died earlier in the year and I am basically considering it a win if I stay dressed and basically clean through the holidays and anyone who doesn't can suck it. Which is to say: you are doing good! What I have been sometimes saying to people is that each day makes things a little easier. This is good this time of year (in the US/Northern Hemisphere) with the lengthening of the days whichg is a nice planet-based way of looking at it. If these are people who share your grief (i.e. who were pretty close to your mom) I'd be including a sentiment like "Thinking of you during this difficult time" or whatever. If it was someone who cares about you and was not as close to your mom, I'd go with something like "I am doing okay and enjoying the (Whatever you enjoy this time of year, if anything)" since that can be a good thing for peopel who care and worry about you.

I think what you wrote is fine as is, though, just giving you some more types of ideas. Sending cards, no matter what they say, is a good way to connect with people, and good for you and for them. I am so sorry about your mom.
posted by jessamyn at 6:58 AM on December 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Also think your wording is fine!

For another suggestion, perhaps something like this? "While her loss weighs heavily on us this Christmas, we are also comforted by the memories of her we keep with us."

I'm so sorry for your loss, and wishing you the best for getting through the holidays.
posted by eponym at 7:47 AM on December 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I think what you wrote is perfectly fine, but agree that you can swap in "will be tough" if you're worried about the language.

I'm sorry for your loss. My mother died many many years ago, and this is a hard time of year. But your instincts are right: you WILL be okay. And I think it's okay to share that.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 9:01 AM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Parent Loss Holiday Brigade Member checking in to say HOLIDAY CARDS? Not all heroes wear capes! All the suggestions sound graceful. Please feel free to memail if you’d like to grieve in company.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:45 AM on December 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Speaking as someone who just had to take over writing the Family Christmas Letter that dad-who-passed-in-the-spring normally writes, basically echoing what a lot have already said, do what feels right. I will tell you that the feedback I've gotten so far has been along thee lines of "glad to get anything at all from you, good to hear from the family," if that helps.
posted by danapiper at 3:29 PM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: It's months later and I want to thank all of you for helping me with this; the cards were well received.

I am mostly touched by all of your kind sentiments though. I do feel like I'm the newest member in the Parent Death Club, like chesty_a_arthur mentions the "Parent Loss Holiday Brigade" and you've all welcomed me with some wonderful advice and kind words. I don't usually favorite and mark every answer as best, but how could I not?
Thank you all again.
posted by NoraCharles at 11:39 PM on August 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

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