About the Author

Ekemini Uwan is a public theologian and co-host of Truth’s Table Podcast. Her writings have been published in The Atlantic, Washington Post, Huffington Post Black Voices and her insights have been quoted by NPR, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Whew! This post is so spot on! Having experienced the losses of my mother, godmother and grandmother in the space of two years, I have learned about the dichotomy of feeling we can experience during the holidays. While we are excited to spend time with loved ones and grateful for the downtime; yet there is always the sense that important people in our lives are missing. I allow the tears the flow when they come, acknowledge that my feelings are valid, then be in the moment and !the season. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Brenna, I’m glad my article resonated with you and I’m sorry for your losses. I love that you allow the tears to flow while remaining determined to stay present in the moment to enjoy the holidays. God bless you, sis! Happy holidays!

  2. Thank you for sharing! It’s so helpful to know we are not alone, especially with challenging emotions & life stages.

    How will I go on? I’m learning that day by day. I do know that I’m choosing to put a smile on my face, somehow, everyday. Whether that’s going to a line dancing class, or watching a movie I’ve seen a hundred times – one thing I know my late mother always wanted for me was happiness. So for her, and for me, I’m choosing to find it. I may be crying while I do…and so be it.

    And I also remind myself that the vast majority of people are experiencing some sort of grief – we just don’t share it. And I have become that person that will be quick to discuss something painful…it hurts to much to hide anymore.

  3. I have learned to just sit in emotions and feelings and let them be whatever they are going to be. Also, I don’t put a lot of expectations on myself. However, there are three things I do daily: get up and get dressed, to include makeup and jewelry, visit nature and have some form of human contact.

    • That’s great, Emily! Disciplines help to ground us. I love that you go outside and enjoy nature in addition to putting on makeup and jewelry. Thank you for reading my article.

  4. It depends on the day or the year. Some holidays, I manage to get through with much grief and despair, a few tears and carry on. Others, I can barely get out of bed. My mom has been gone for 24 years and some years, it seems like yesterday and others feel very like a very long time. I allow myself to feel whatever I am feeling and not to suppress my emotions. It helps me to recover much faster and not fall into a depressed state.

    • Yes, let the grief have its way, sis! I’m sorry for the loss of your beloved mother. I pray the sweet memories you have will be a comfort to you during this holiday season.

  5. I love and miss my parents everyday. I cope with the pain of there loss by reminding myself that they would never want me to suffer. I remind myself everyday that I am their child, accountable for and obligated to honoring their life’s work as spiritual, supportive and wise parents praying for the joy of the fullness of my life, Civil Rights activists, community protectors in their giving back and always remaining present for everyone. I live and work diligently to make them know their prayers are answered with each BIG LIFE WIN. This all feels a whole lot better than grief. I hope I helped someone today. Please have a blessed holiday season and a great life.

  6. Ekemini, you’ve beautifully captured what I call living in the Both/And … experiencing the joy of a holiday season and grief due to loss. This was my first Christmas without my dad. And, with the arrival of the new year,
    we’re nearing the one-year mark of his passing the end of January. It’s a strange place at times to reside, this Both/And. Yet, it feels more authentic and honest than most other seasons of life. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Karin. I’m honored that my essay resonated with you and gives you language for that both/and tension you felt this holiday season. May God comfort you as you near the one-year mark of your beloved Father’s death. God bless you in this new year, and thank you for reading my article.

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