Our hearts are broken. Meghan McCain sadly lost her father, John McCain, in August from brain cancer at age 81, and for her first Christmas without him, she posted a touching tribute on Instagram.

“Merry Christmas, Dad. Wherever you are — I love you forever,” she captioned a photo of the late politician grilling.

After the unnecessary fan backlash, Meg was quick to defend her decision to post on social media. “If there’s one thing I’m doing in 2019 it’s to continue to destigmatize talking about grief, death, and cancer. My father shared his life in public, I share it in death. To all of you out there missing a loved one tonight — you are not alone. I’m alongside you, sending strength,” she wrote.

Meghan, 34, previously opened up about how sad she is not having her father around on the holidays back when Thanksgiving came around.

“For those of you who aren’t having great holidays, it’s okay to be in your truth,” she shared on The View. “I’m not having great holidays. Everyone knows what’s happened in my life, everyone knows what’s happening.”

Meghan added, “If you’re having a bad holiday season, right here, I’m with you. Okay? Sometimes it’s hard, and it’s really hard with social media that everyone looks like they’re having a perfect holiday. And for those of us who aren’t, it’s okay.”

Meghan McCain

Meghan previously shared an emotional eulogy at her father’s funeral on Sept. 1. “I am feeling loss I have never wanted to feel. My father is gone,” she said. “This love my father had for my mother was the most fierce and lasting of them all. He was endlessly present for us. And though we did not always understand it, he was always teaching. He didn’t expect us to be like him. His ambitions for us was to be better than him. As a girl, I did not fully appreciate what I fully appreciate now: how he suffered, and how he wore it with this stoic silence that was once the mark of an American man.”

“Dad, I love you. I always have,” Meghan added. “All that I am, all that I hope, all that I dream is grounded in what you taught me. You loved me and you showed me what love must be. Your greatness is woven into my life. It is woven into my mother’s life.”

She concluded, “My father is gone. My father is gone and my sorrow is immense but I know his life and I know it was great because it was good.”