Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — For many, Christmas is a time of pure happiness as family and friends come together to celebrate the holiday season with food, gifts and good company. For others, though, it’s a painful reminder of the loss in their life — maybe a family member or friend absent from the festive season.
For Jon Schmidt, a member of the local music group The Piano Guys, the Christmas season was noticeably difficult last year after their daughter, Annie, died on a hiking trip in Oregon on Oct. 16, 2016. Her body was found nearly a month later after an extensive search.
In a video posted to YouTube, Schmidt says “people talk about grief, pain, fear, sorrow — all of these words, can’t really describe how you feel when you really go through the loss of a loved one.
“And even though we held onto hope that we would somehow see her again,” he continued, “it was just a brutal time that we were going through right at Christmas, and it felt pretty hard to celebrate.”
Schmidt said as his family was trying to cope with the loss of their daughter, they found a Christian song, “The Sweetest Gift” by Craig Aven, on Facebook that “expressed exactly what we were feeling” and gave he and his wife “comfort.”
“I’m not gonna lie, Christmas really hurts this time, cause you’re not here to celebrate with me,” the song starts out saying. “Tears fill my eyes, the memories flood my mind as I place your ornament upon our tree. Although this year I have a broken heart, it gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are.”
Because of the healing qualities of the song, Schmidt paired up with Aven to release the song on The Piano Guys’ latest Christmas album, “Christmas Together.”
“So many people struggle with loss at this time of year, not just me,” he said. “If you are missing someone this Christmas, I want to dedicate this song to you and I also want to dedicate it to Annie, my sweet Annie, who I miss very much.”
Prepare to have a box of tissues next to you while watching the video.