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A Widow’s Holiday Secrets and Confessions

“We can all find reasons to be thankful,” I was told when I was lamenting the fact that I wasn’t looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with strangers. Ya, sure we can. After all, isn’t thankfulness 'mindset' #12' in the Handbook for Better Living, a book I’ve been preaching from my entire life? Thankfulness is a cornerstone of philosophic thought all over the world and I know the Thanksgiving Day drill: “Dear Lord, I’m thankful for central heat, clean water, indoor plumbing and the fact that my address isn’t ‘the center refrigerator box underneath the Main Street viaduct.’ I’m thankful that farmer Jack’s cows still come home every night for milking, that I have Ben and Jerry’s Death by Chocolate ice cream in my freezer, and that we’re not living in a nuclear winter.” But here’s where I get a little testy. We humans are multi-taskers so why is it so hard to understand if a thankful widow---anticipating a Thanksgiving dinner with strangers---can visualize herself standing up on her chair and proclaiming she’s got a whole cup of crazy going on in her head? “But I am thankful you invited me here,” she’d continue, “and I thank you for asking me to lead us in prayer.” Of course, you know I’m not going to do that at dinner on Thursday, even though I am stressing out over the very real possibility these super-sized Christians will ask me to lead a pray, me the person they don’t realize is an agnostic.


You’ve got to admit there’s a difference between having a good time and pretending you are so you’ll get invited back by the hostess of whatever affair you’re attending. You want her to know her kind gesture of including you is sincerely appreciated. Isn’t that what a good guest is supposed to do? We bring a little wine, maybe a box of bonbons or flashy flowers and smile in all the right places. We help where ever we can and feed their dog under that table. We are good little guests who try hard not to let on that we feel out of place, like a fish swimming in olive oil. I am woman, master of multitasking and I can be as two-faced as the next person. “Thank you very much for inviting me and my ghost for dinner," but did you have to let your uncle Harry sit on his lap?


Last year, my holiday season and the invitations that came with it was all about concentrating on not bursting into tears. This year my mission statement for the holidays is to “dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” I am a woman at war, a woman determined to stand on her own two feet. A widow who can move on with the best of them. But I’ll tell you a few secrets I’ve learned over the past year. Moving on doesn’t mean you forget. It doesn’t mean you can’t be both thankful and regretful at the same time and still be a perfectly balanced, sane person who knows how to keep her cup of crazy from spilling over. And the piece of résistance of all secrets is this: in the second year of widowhood a woman must learn to carry her losses forward (minus the pain) to live in harmony with the joy that she’s adding back into her life one baby step at a time. It’s hard work. It’s worthy widow’s work to let go of the pain that came tethered to our losses. And, yes, I am thankful I learned these secrets in a timely manner and I didn’t scratch anyone’s eyes out in the process. I am woman and I’ve roared enough for today. ©

See my other blog here.

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Comment by Princess Warrior Widow on December 2, 2013 at 9:50am

Blue Snow.  I am at the two year mark.  This is the hardest work I have ever done to move forward and find joy.  I am worth it. 


Thanks so much for sharing your blog.

Comment by MsKris12 on December 2, 2013 at 8:25am

I L-O-V-E this!!!!  

Comment by blueskies on December 2, 2013 at 6:26am

You go girl, you are so awesome...thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and will be sharing it with my friends....maybe it will give them more insight!  Lost my Monte Dec 3, 2011 in a plane crash...he and a 22 year old pilot were both killed.....he had thousands of hours of flying...the aircraft a friend wanted him to fly had mechanical failure...he trusted people too easily....his own aircraft was always in tip top running condition.  He always made sure evverything was up to date.  We were married a few months short of 10 years.  My first marriage...I am now 54 he was 54 when he was killed.  We have no children,, he left behind a blue and gold mccaw which i adore.  I have been taking care of mom ever since we were married....he was such a good sport about the situation, i continue to take care of mom she is 90....therefore my grieving has been complicated and slow.   Sending you big cyber you say there is hope ahead...again love your blog!!!

Comment by Blue Snow on November 30, 2013 at 9:07pm

Thanks, Oceangirl and Aussiewidow for the comments.

The Thanksgiving dinner wasn't as bad as I anticipated and I actually had some fun, especially playing cards afterwards. But when I got home I spent the entire night and next day sicker than a food poisoning!

Comment by aussiewidow on November 30, 2013 at 4:12pm

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here down under and maybe that's a good thing - it's a flipside to the seasons anyway so no autumn harvest bounty. Seems like a lovely American tradition but NOT if you're not in the mood. Thanks for what you wrote:)

Comment by oceangirl on November 29, 2013 at 2:15pm

I love this!

Comment by Blue Snow on November 26, 2013 at 7:10pm

Thank you both! It really bothered me when a friend misunderstood how hard it is to get out of a comfort zone to move forward as a widow.

Comment by Mary0624 (Maria) on November 26, 2013 at 6:07am

You stated my feelings far more eloquently than I ever could.  My motto has become, "Not moving on, moving forward."  I, too, count my blessings moment by moment, with the niggling in my brain "Gary would love this!" I am strong, I am loved, and I will continue to live to honor my husband's memory.  Thank you.

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on November 26, 2013 at 3:37am

Very well said Blue Snow and so true.  I can relate to this very well.  I have been invited to spend Thanksgiving with a friend and her daughters family but I'm just not in the mood to be around people who I really don't know.  Hugs.

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