A Tinge of Sadness

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Three years ago, during the holidays, my dad passed away. The last time I saw Dad was on Christmas Day. He died on the morning of the new year. As many of you know, my dad had Alzheimer’s disease. His death was not unexpected and, in a way, it was welcomed. He would never, ever have wanted the last decade of his life to have rolled out the way it did. Plus, Dad had an unwavering belief in Heaven. His death was a release of his earthly, diseased shell.

“In His presence is the fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

We all believed that verse to be true for our dad.

And yet . . . and yet . . . the holidays hold a tinge of sadness. Off stage, tucked away in the shadows, but grief is there.

It occurred to me how hard the holidays must be for so many after a major life event—those who are divorced, who are grieving, who are heartbroken.

I found a couple of things that helped:

  • Dwell on the promises and reassurances of Scripture: “Emmanuel, God is with us.” You are not alone in your sorrow.
  • Surround yourself with those you love. Don’t isolate! On January 1st, my brother hosted a get together and we had a toast for Dad. It’s become a yearly thing. And very comforting!

Next Christmas, reach out to someone whom you know who has faced recent loss. Send a card, invite them over, go on a walk together.

It’s a funny thing about blessing another—the blessing returns to you.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Kate Berman says:

    My dad died 41 years ago today. He died far too young, but today is a day to recall the blessing that his life was and his gentle kindness. Good memories prevail.

  2. Hi Suzanne. Please except my sympathies in the lose of you Father. I know you think of your father often and especially during the holidays. It is good for you to remember him as a family unit each year. Gone but never forgotten.
    Please know that your father dances in heaven today as he celebrates Christmas and the saviors birth.
    I wanted to share with you that I lost my dear sister on December the 16th in 2009. It was the day after my birthday. But she had cancer and suffered much from it. It was very hard to be sad as I knew she was with God celebrating the birth of Christ. Yes I still miss her. Miss calling her and our long conversations on the phone, but I’m happy for her knowing she’s with Jesus today.

  3. MS Barb says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! My Mom died 3 days after Christmas…a younger sister died on Christmas eve, and my Mother in law died a few days before Christmas–all 3 died of cancer, in different years–so Christmas can be a sad time, but your words today have encouraged me & given me peace! THANK you again! I am sorry for your loss…I hate Alzheimer’s…

  4. Jan Drexler says:

    Thank you for sharing this bittersweet anniversary.

    My mother passed away last March after her own ten year battle with Alzheimer’s. I am so thankful that we don’t grieve as the world grieves, with no hope. I look forward to the day I see her again, whole and healthy in mind and body.

  5. Chris Meyer says:

    Granny passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s in December. It was difficult when I had time off from work during the Holidays. Work kept me too busy and concentrating on other things. But being off from Christmas to New Year’s was difficult this year.

  6. Freda Mans says:


  7. Pam Burke says:

    Thank you for the bittersweet words. I remember your posting about your dad’s death and how it resonated with me because my Daddy died on New Year’s Day just one year before yours — also after suffering the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s. The last time I saw him was on Christmas Eve just before his death. And that was just 7 months after losing my Mother to Alzheimer’s.

    Yes, there is always that tinge of sadness — especially around the holidays and at other special times — because of their absence. I too am thankful that they have escaped their diseased shells to live in the presence of their Father, but I miss them all the same.

  8. ana harshaw says:

    Dear Sue, My heart goes out to you at this time, as I also lost my dad & mom Nov. days before Thkgvng…and he use to cook a great meal. My mom past Jan. 9th 2000…so the Holiday also are heartfelt. ((hugs)) and thank you for sharing you heart. much love & appreciation, ana harshaw

  9. Brenda says:

    My mom had dementia and heart problems she was in her own little world didn’t really talk to you just answered your questions, the day before she went in the hospital I called over to mom& dad to talked to dad after a while mom asked him who was on the phone he said Brenda and she replied I want to talk to her we talk for a few minutes the first time she had talked on the phone for over a year she was admitted in the hospital the next day had a heart cath done & thing didn’t go good in ICU and on life support for 2 weeks Dad had to tell them to take her off and she passed on Sept 12, 2012,, She and Dad had been married 62 years Dad did ok after she passed but 5 months 16 days after her on Feb 28 2013 he passed unexpected. We all say he died of a broken heart missing her so much . The holiday are so hard .

    Please except my sympathy for you all we can do is take one day at a time and know they are in a better world & pain free