Getting through your first holiday season without a loved one seems to be one of the most DREADED topics among widowed people.
Getting through the 2nd, 3rd, or even 10th holiday season without them can be hard as well.
Winter is dark, and parties show us who is having more fun than us. Sometimes we just feel alone.
The holiday season can also be full of joy -- even in the midst of sadness -- a chance to get out, a good excuse to eat and drink well, and for us, a time to reflect on what is going well. Year by year, it's also an opportunity to create new traditions that honor and include our loved ones and help us find who we are and what matters most to us. Holidays can be creative and about new beginnings, as well.
What will you do the same? What will you change? Can you be thankful? (Did someone bring you some chocolate?) We want to hear about it all.
Please share ideas, articles, posts, images and videos, and your own experiences of winter holidays. All religious traditions and cultures give us a chance to learn!
This will be my first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my husband. We didnt have any other family so it was always just the two of us. I don't plan on having and big celebrations - can't even go crazy on Christmas gifts for friends, because I have to watch my finances. A part of me knows that Don would tell me to go out with friends, but as I tell him every night (I talk to his picture as I am sure many of you do with your husbands) I don't want him to be upset, but this year I just can't get in a celebratory mood and I hope he understands. Half of my heart has been torn away and just doing normal things is tough enough without trying get in the holiday spirit.
I know this is my life now, and maybe some day down the road when the hurt isn't so fresh, I might step out and do something for the holidays, but not this year. I hate when people talk about the "new normal" I don't know what that is and I don't want to know! I will slog through the winter months, with God's help doing the best I can. He has brought me so far and I know he won't let me down.
Right now all the holidays means to me is memories - how I sat by his side every day in intensive care the entire month of December last year - I even brought lights and decorations for his room - at least he was alive and I had hope - and all through January till he passed away on Jan. 27. It was kind of surreal last year and this year it is just plain sad.
All any of us can do is the best we can and cope the best way we know how.
This will be my second holiday season without Mike. Last year I hosted the family Thanksgiving and it was horrible for me. I think it was OK for the rest (about 20 family members). For Christmas I told my sister that the boys (26 and 25 last year) would be spending Christmas day alone. That was better for me, but not for the boys, so this year, my sister will be hosting, probably both days. Also this year, I have a daughter in law to be joining us, or not? They might have to go to her mom and dad's home, still trying to work that out.
I feel much more able to survive the season this year. On December 8, a group of widows I meet with once a month will be having a bunco party (bunco is a dice game) We will eat and drink, toast our husbands, act silly, get a little tipsy? I am adopting a family that is having financial issues, buying them some Christmas. I will think about the 30 wonderful years, and will tell stories about how the dear man couldn't buy a Christmas surprise for anything!
I hope you all can find peace and moments of happiness in this holiday season.
Here's my "toolkit" to handle the holidays:
http://crazywidow.info/?p=2814 - Secure link to my blog
This is my first thanksgiving and going to be my first Christmas without my Joe. For Thanksgiving I am going to do the same thing, the difference is Joe will not be here physically but I know in spirit he will be. my neighbors have decided to come over my house and help me eat my dinner that I am going to prepare. Joe loved the holidays as much as I did so to keep his memory alive and his spirit here with me I will be doing the same as always. I know its going to be hard,but this is something I strongly believe that Joe would be upset with me ,and I believe he is going to be here with me on thanksgiving and Christmas and every day of my life. Without my beliefs I do not know where I would be through this Journey.
Thanks I need to read something like this.
I'm trying to keep things the same as much as possible. I've decided to set a place for him at the table tomorrow but to put a candle on his plate. That felt "right" to me and my little girl really liked that idea. Christmas will also be as "normal" as possible though I might not cook the same things as I used to. The biggest thing I'm hesitating over is hanging stockings. Right now, I'm leaning towards hanging all three but I don't know what I'll do in the end.
Can I be thankful? Yes. He nearly died in an accident 2 weeks before our daughter was born. I'm thankful to have had those extra 5 years, for her to have been old enough that some of her memories of him might stick. I'm thankful to have a wonderful daughter to pull me forward, through this mess. Without her, I don't know if I'd get out of bed. With her, I have a bright, happy child to watch, help, and love. I'm thankful for every day I get to spend with her - I hope I have many, many years to go.
Hello to all who posted on this site on the early morning of Thanksgiving: Arlene, Mahagen, Crazywidow,Mrs. Hulse (Missy), Kaycee, my heart goes out to all of you who are feeling the deep loss of your husbands now. Yes, this is also my first without Don... who very sadly died several months ago in August this year. Several days ago I wrote my first blog on this site entitled 'A Widow's Peek" which helped to soothe the heat of grief.
When I awoke at the far-too-early hour of 2:00 AM CA time, the sadness and longing for my husband, Don, (Arlene, I resonated with your post and also your beloved husband's name), was some of the hardest and stickiest "molasses" to get through yet.... I could not find any peace or comfort no matter where I walked in the house or in recalling all the years of our memories. ( Picking up a favorite book or listening to familiar music felt empty)... Often those memories - so cherished - bring us comfort. Yes? My mind and heart ached so much for what "was". I logged onto the WV "chat" and there was no one there at that hour...The realization of being so "alone" in the dark, and being in a far too quiet house slammed hard at my open heart. Of course, my mind now understands that I am not really alone - it just feels so raw at those times. I am sure we can all resonate with those wildly unpleasant experiences?
Taking a deep breath and focusing on blessings and gratitudes: I am looking forward to seeing a very close friend soon who is flying out from the mountain states this morning to be with me. We are going to go one of several friends' dinner gatherings I have been invited to. I do feel gratitude for my friends; absolutely. I am grateful that they have reached out through their own busy lives to make sure I am not alone at this time. I feel gratitude for waking up to another day of rain and for being able to express my "voice" which blends in with your voices. So, in a way, maybe we are creating a 'chorus' together of like-minded kindred souls...It really is important to keep sharing our own individual pain and sorrow and not to hold it in... This I strongly believe. So I want to wish all of you the best day possible today, and am giving thanks for being able to see so that I can read your words. I give thanks that I can make a contribution to this forum. I give thanks that my fingers can 'fly' the way they do across the keys so that I don't have to stop and check for typos... :-) I give thanks for being able to hear that funny beeping background noise that WV keeps going that used to annoy me. I give thanks for my physical body getting me to where I need to go and for it to be in the best way it is now, particularly given my recent health challenges. I give thanks for the good food, warm shelter and water that is plentiful around us. It is so true - one breath at a time. And I give thanks for you, whom I do not know, who are here now. Take very good care today and tomorrow, too . -Mollheart
Lovely, lovely post, Mollheart. I give thanks that YOU are here with us.
Thw first holiday we had was Fathers Day, 2 weeks after Keith died. My daughter and I decided to go to his favorite restaurant for dinner. BIG MISTAKE. We were seated in the middle of the restaurant. We were the only ones there without a Dad. Then in September his birthday rolled around. The bar that he worked at part time decided to have a Hat party to celebrate him. I didn't even know about it until about 4 days before. Then the real holidays Thanksgiving we had dinner with his family. I had decided to get a tree for Christmas but couldn't stand the thought of going thru the ornaments and such. So we decorated our tree with the streamers from poppers and pink flamingo lights. Unfortunately my mothe in law died on Dec. 15th and my Mom on CHristmas Day = Needless to say the holidays really sucked last year and weren't celebrated at all. This year I am hoping to get another tree and if I cant get thru the ornaments again - we might just use silly string to decorate it.
Oh my goodness ... you tried so hard to make the best of things last year and just kept getting hit with more. I'm impressed you're willing to try it all again this year. Good for you! I skipped Christmas last year but think I may try putting the tree up this year. Good luck to both of us!
Love Idea of Silly String. If I get enough energy to do it this year I will post a photo.
The only way we have found to get through the holidays has been to stay away from family completely. Hard enough without having to console them and be caused further pain by having to go places where I have never been without my husband by my side.
We either go away or do what we have energy for on the day. This year we went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner and I had a really good time-Very grateful to be doing what I wanted to be doing - The restaurant was a place my husband and I always talked about going to one day and he would of been happy that the boys and I went there.
It helps us to go away during the holidays. That way I do not feel guilty for not dragging out decorations that I am not feeling up to dealing with and my kids do not miss them since where ever we go when we are out is decorated to the hilt. The first year I picked up a couple of plain stockings and put them above their beds in our hotel room. kindness of strangers - sometimes is everything (best hug I got was from a maid that came into clean our room - she asked about their dad and admired photos we had taken day earlier and had put them out- I shared that their father had died this year and she shared that she understood since she had lost her husband five years earlier.) - This was at the Hard Rock Cafe in Florida. I would of been OK..but I was so much better after having met this other widow during the holiday that understood our loss and daily challenges to make it through each and every day. So thankful that I found Widows Village after that first year and it helps logging in. ((hugs)) to all of us.