Christmas Can Be Hard

“What’s wrong?” I asked. 

My sister is always happy and peppy on Christmas. She’s typically the one decorating, smiling, and laughing. She’s constantly volunteering and likes to help out — but now she’s laying down in bed and isn’t doing anything. She hasn’t moved, she hasn’t eaten, and she hasn’t even turned on the TV. She’s just laying there, either sleeping or blankly staring at a wall.

Jenna didn’t respond. I don’t understand what’s going on. I want to understand, but how can I when she won’t speak? 

“Oh come on! I know something’s wrong!” I state with frustration. “It’s nothing, okay! It’s just-” she starts, her voice cracking. That was the first time I’d heard her speak recently. It was like her voice was something new to me.

 I don’t know what to do. She’s my older sister. I feel hopeless. “Come on please, please just tell me what’s going on. I want to help!” 

She didn’t speak.

 I’ve tried everything this past week and nothing has worked! I can’t do anything! So I decorated. I decorated the whole house and put cookies in the oven. I have to try! I have to try anything to help her! 

Once the cookies were done, I went into her room with a plate of fresh cookies and she was once again staring blankly at the wall. 

I think I understand what she is feeling. Our mom went through similar symptoms to the point where we couldn’t help her. Now it’s just my sister and me, and I don’t want her to suffer the same fate as Mom. I will try anything just to help her. 

I walked into her room and it seemed as if a pinch of Christmas joy had hit her because for once, her face doesn’t seem as blank as usual. For once, she seems calm, happier, and certainly a bit better. Looking over at my sister, I softly said, “You don’t have to say anything, but I think I might have a clue as to what’s going on. I think you’re going through the same thing mom did. I think you might have depression, and I would really like you to talk to me or at least go and see someone. You’re my big sister. I never want to lose you. When you’re ready to talk, I’ll be downstairs.” I sighed, looking down at the plate of decorative cookies. There are more cookies in the oven!” I added with a slightly cheerful tone. I left the tray on her nightstand and left her alone. I hope I got through to her.

A few hours pass and I see my sister slowly coming down the stairs. It’s good to see her out of her room. She approached me, sobbing, telling me everything she was feeling. 

We talked for what seemed like hours. I listened patiently, making sure she got her feelings out. We were able to make an appointment so that she can be happy.

 “WOW I absolutely love the decorations!” she exclaimed. We put on a Christmas movie and decorated Christmas cookies and got closer than ever.

By Shandell Sanmartin ’26