Widow Shares Son's Heartbreaking Letter to Santa: 'I'm in Pieces'

A young boy who lost his father earlier this year has gone viral after penning a heartfelt letter to Santa Claus asking him to give his Christmas present to his mom.

Christmas is traditionally a time where families come together to celebrate the holidays. However, it can be a very difficult time for those still mourning the loss of loved ones.

That's certainly the case for Marija Maher and her three kids.

The teacher and writer has been busy facing up to the painful reality of a first family Christmas without her husband and the father of their children after he passed away earlier this year.

She was just about holding things together for the family when she came across the letter her eldest child had written to Santa this year.

Where most kids use the traditional letter to Santa to detail the various gifts they would like come December 25, this was a little different.

It reads: "Dear Santa, As you know it's Christmas time and I'll be sending you my list of presents I'd like. This year has been quite difficult for me and my family so would it be okay if I got something for my mom? Thanks."

Maher shared a picture of the note on Twitter, where she admitted the family has been struggling to cope through the holiday season.

"Earlier this year my husband died. My three kids lost their dad," she said. "We've been muddling through as best we can but we always knew that Christmas would be tough. I've just come across the letter to Santa that my eldest has written and honestly, I'm in pieces."

Coming at a time when many are feeling thankful to have loved ones near after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter to Santa struck a chord with thousands on social media.

At the time of writing, Maher's post had been retweeted over 1,400 times and liked over 39,000 times, with people flocking to issue messages of support and share their own stories of love and loss.

Markduffer1986 commented: "My wife died this year leaving just me and our boy. Has been a tough 6 months for us." Maher responded: "I'm so sorry for your loss Mark. Sending you love and strength."

Another user, posting as coffeepowerrr, shared her own heartbreaking experience of grief and loss.

"This happened to me 13y ago, my partner died suddenly 2 weeks before xmas (11th), we also had 3 kids," she said. "I tried to throw the fully decorated tree outside in a fit of grief. #GrievingAtChristmas is HARD. My heart goes out to you all, solidarity."

Maher replied: "I can totally relate to this. We LOVED Christmas as a family. My husband used to dress up in an outrageous Christmas Suit. This year is very hard. Everything makes me feel so sad."

ChrisBell1987 said: "I lost my dad last February to MND. It's hard especially this time of year, but what a lovely boy you're raising and he sounds like a credit to you and your husband. So sorry for your loss."

Maher replied: "Sorry for your loss Chris. Grief is hard at any age, I feel though that at least I can talk to my friends about it. Kids aren't equipped to have those conversations with their friends so it's really tough going on them."

Another Twitter user, Chantal Waters, urged Maher to encourage her children to talk about their dad as much as possible.

"Make him 'live on' by talking about him—it helps to process the feelings and not get the grief trapped inside," she explained. "My father died when I was 11 and I shut up like a clam—to protect myself at the time I guess but the result is that the trauma of it is still unaddressed."

Another user, Rachel Thompson, also shared a screenshot of the letter her daughter wrote to Santa after her younger brother was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Reflecting on the flood of kind messages from people either in similar situations or eager to offer kind words, Maher later posted an update thanking everyone for their comments.

"I'm touched by the compassion you've shown," she wrote. "To have so much love and support at this time is very special."

Newsweek has contacted Maher for comment.

The emotive viral tweet comes hot on the heels of the similarly festive feels generated by two videos posted to TikTok.

In one, dog lovers get a glimpse of one canine's adorable reaction to seeing Christmas lights for the first time. In the other, we see a pet pooch get wrapped up like a Christmas present with predictably cute results.

A letter to Santa.
Stock image of a letter to Santa. A young boy writing a letter to Santa after a year in which his dad passed away, has gone viral. Comstock images./Getty