There is a sense of stillness this Christmas- a quietness. There is an unspoken reality of a missing piece. When others ask how we are doing, it takes me a second to compile an appropriate answer. Honestly? It takes everything in me to refrain from saying, “How do you think we are doing? We are sad. We miss our daughter. We are caught between celebration and mourning, and it is an impossible place.” Instead, we often say “Fine. Good. Hanging in there.”

Earlier this month was our nephew’s 22nd birthday. Jordan would have turned 22 years old. His life was taken too soon at the age of 3 ½ when he died as the result of a car accident. I remember watching helplessly as his parents grieved. While we mourned his loss too, I did not, and could not, comprehend their immense pain at the time. I now know there are things we could have done to ease some of the pain that came with his loss. We could have mentioned his name more often- spoken to them about the memories we held of Jordan as they came up in conversation- reached out to them regularly as we moved from place to place-honored him on the days that were the most difficult- anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc.

Jordan was a busy, feisty, curious, competitive, athletic little boy. He kept everyone on their toes and never exhibited a fear. We are so grateful to have been around for those years. Today, I imagine him comforting and loving his cousin Ashley as she spends her first Christmas away from her mom, dad, and sister as he did 18 years ago.

If you know anyone who lost someone close this year, reach out to them. Ask them what they will miss the most about their loved one during the season. Ask them about any traditions they may have had together. Ask how they are going to honor them. Share a memory of their loved one. Speak their name. Please, speak their name.