Hurting for the Holidays: When It's Okay to Run by Franchesca Cox

photo by Jennifer Upton

For the 2013 holiday season, I am hosting a blog series called Hurting for the Holidays.  Twenty-six amazing guest writers are sharing their hearts, hurts, and helps to help those of us who carry an internal ache to navigate this celebratory season.  Find all posts in the series here, and participate via social media through the hashtag #HurtingfortheHolidays.


The answer to a lot of my problems is running away. So naturally when Jenna died I ran with the idea someone proposed to me when I asked her what on earth was I going to do for Christmas? Her first should-be Christmas. There was something gut-wrenching about the idea of Christmas that first year.

So we did.

We painfully exchanged small gifts that morning (my husband really wanted to do the whole gift thing, so I caved but it felt so wrong), cried our faces off and skipped town Christmas morning.

I don't remember much of that day, but looking back it's what my heart needed.

We found ourselves in the town we celebrated our honeymoon - San Antonio. Only this go around the city was a ghost town. We had each other and it seemed like the lights and the city's charm and delight was for our cheering up. Everyone was tucked under fleece blankets, sipping on hot chocolate, gazing over their children opening one too many Christmas packages. And it was the last thing on our minds. We were adventurous. We saw a movie, Rode up and down the River Walk, had dinner. Talked, shopped. Remembered her.

I remember having bags under my eyes, heavy eyes. A body that felt ancient and a soul that wished heaven would come that very moment. But Christmas hurt a tiny bit less. And for possibly the first time, running away was the one thing that helped us survive Christmas.

It might go against tradition, it might not sit well with family, but it might be just what your heart needs. A break in tradition. A little adventure-therapy. Soul searching in another city or town. A desperate distance from the painful and lingering could-have-beens sitting around your home, haunting you. There is a sting in Christmas for so many. A holiday that shoves peace and joy into our faces, when our hearts feel the exact opposite. It's okay to wallow sometimes. It's okay to sulk. And it is desperately okay to dread or even hate this time of year.

Just know, running away . . . it can be a very good thing sometimes.


I think that there is a stigma against running away.  And sometimes (maybe even a lot of times) it's the hard but right thing to do.  But other times . . . it's okay.  Even good, healthy.  When it's synonymous with authenticity, self-care.  When running away is showing up to where you are.  I love how Franchesca reminds us [me] of that.  What are some healthy ways you can run away or show up this year (only you can decide which one you truly need)?

* * *

IMG_5617Franchesca Cox is a wife, artist, mom, writer, dream-chaser and lover of faraway places. She writes because words often fail her in real life, and she is the queen of awkwardness. She writes for The MOB Society, runs Still Standing Magazine and shares random tidbits about raising two babies after loss, creativity and life in Southeast Texas on her blog Small Bird Studios.

Never miss a post

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our Love List and never miss a thing. Plus, when you sign up, you get a free copy of 31 Days of Writing Wild. Win!

We won't send you spam. Ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit