Her cane sits in the corner of the dining room like the crutch of Tim Cratchet. But it is not a shade of Christmas future, it is a reality in the present. Mom is gone.

This will be the first Christmas without her. And it is hard. Sometimes at Mass, I sit in “her chair” up front on the right. Across from me is a huge stained glass window. The top is a beautiful image of the Assumption of Mary and underneath are the words, “My abode in is the company of the saints.” How true.

Grief is a necessary but selfish thing. It is about my loss, my sorrow, what I am missing. Even when shared by others, each person grieving is still on their own journey. I take comfort in the support of my wife, my children, my family and friends, but there is still a hole where she used to be. It’s supposed to be like this. In fact it is good that it is like this. It means there is something, someone, to miss.

As individual as grief is, I am becoming more keenly aware that I am not the only one grieving. This holiday season an untold number of people like me are experiencing their first Christmas without, mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend or other loved one. Each of us is passing through our own dark night waiting for the cry of a baby who will console us all. I am aware of and feel compassion for all people, near and far, Christian and not, who are passing through the end of this year having lost someone dear.

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ADisputation_of_the_Holy_Sacrament_-_fresco_by_Raphaelo%2C_Stanza_della_Segnatura%2C_Museum_Vaticano_(5789668503).jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>And I think about one of the fruits of Holy Communion, the Mystical body of the church; where through the Eucharist Christ unites us more closely with all the faithful in one body.  (CCC 1396). I have always assumed this to mean “ALL believers,” those among the living and those who have gone to their reward.

So this Christmas as I receive Jesus in the Eucharist I see myself united not just with my mom, but with all the saints, all those who died in God’s mercy this year, and all those left behind to grieve their passing. While grief is an individual journey we are not alone.

May Christ in the Eucharist bring unity, peace and comfort to all who grieve.

Copyright 2015 Chris Weickert