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In a year of firsts for widows, probably the hardest first is not the same one across the board. Some might say their wedding anniversary; others might say the birthday that can no longer add a number to an age, still others would name Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years Eve. For all widows the holiday season, as a whole, is full of painful reminders of long standing family traditions that can never be the same again. Each holiday song heard in a store, each light on a neighbor’s house, each card in the mail screams, “He’s gone!” Happiness is all around us and even the friendliest festivities only magnifies our loneliness. We are alone even in a crowd.

In the wake of what happened recently in Newtown, Connecticut, my loneliness at Christmas time pales and it almost makes me ashamed to even be writing about it. But I write when I have things on my mind. I can’t help myself. If I don't, I can't sort out my thoughts and put them to rest. I start by getting the raw emotion out (ramble writing I call it) and by the time I've honed the technical aspects of sentence structure, word choices, spelling and editing---well it’s better than going to a shrink which I’ve never done but I have a good imagination.

I don’t have to be alone on Christmas Eve or on Christmas day. I had choices but I turned down two invitations because I don’t want to pretend, to carry on as if the invisible place setting at the table isn’t there. If I need to cry on the eve of Christmas, I will. If I need to wallow in a memory of a past Christmas day, I will. Like the time Don decided to give the dog an entire box of Bonz biscuits. If one is good dozens must be heaven on earth, right? Wrong. He spread them all over the floor then watched in horror as Cooper went into panic mode trying to protect them all. It seems trivial to treasure a memory of Don feeling so guilty over a pile of dog biscuits but it is what it is---a silly but endearing reminiscence. Our Christmas mornings often went to the dogs. They opened gifts, tore paper apart and played with their new toys like real kids do after Santa’s arrival.

 

The parents of the children who died so violently in Newtown no doubt have much harder choices to make about Christmas Eve and day than whether to go some place or stay at home with their grief. They have other children who still believe in Santa, a community of support outside their doors, and hearts that are seriously scared by sorrow. My heart aches for them, for all the Christmas mornings their children will never see. How do they heal from something like that?

 

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me

Unfortunately, those poor parents know where their Christmas went, who took it away and they have to live with that painful knowledge for the rest of their lives. I only have to live with the fact that a good man---an old man---ran out of time on earth. My husband lived the life he chose for himself, did most of the things on his Bucket List. The little victims in Newtown probably didn’t even know how to spell the word ‘evil’ but they came face to face with it on the day they died.

 

I am a firm believer that everything on earth has a counterweight---a yin for each yang, a positive for every negative, a woman for every man, a shadow for every light, and if nothing else the evil event in Newtown brought an enormous outpouring of goodness and love from around the world. From casket companies donating child-sized coffins to Ann Curry’s 26 Random Acts of Kindness Project to the teddy bears, flowers and balloons that lined the streets in Newtown the expressions of kindness are overwhelming. That collective caring is like a candle flame in the darkness. It symbolic but I hope it’s also prophetic predicting that the twenty children and six teachers didn’t die in vane, that their deaths will become a catalyst for real change.

 

And how will I survive my first Christmas alone in the shadow of what happened in Newtown? I will watch Miracle on 34th Street, bake myself some bacon wrapped chicken and be profoundly grateful I got 42 years with my husband. I will also shed a few tears for the parents in Connecticut and every where else on earth who will never get to see their precious children grow up. ©

 

My other blog is here. http://misadventuresofwidowhood.blogspot.com/

 

(Lyric above from the song, Where are you Christmas?)

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Comment by Blue Snow on December 23, 2012 at 4:47pm

Hendrixx and Suz: Thank you so for such kind feedback and remarks. They mean a lot to me.

I hope everyone on this site finds some peace and comfort over the next few days.

Comment by Suz on December 23, 2012 at 9:49am

Blue Snow,

Another beautiful writer here. I feel so lucky to have all of your words to ponder and hopefully, digest. We are so fortunate to have each other and I am so grateful to have found this place.

I think my heart broke when they announced that all the of Newtown children who were killed were First Graders. Sweet, beautiful, innocent first graders. So eager and so excited to life and "real school" to begin. hen i saw their teachers, most of them in their twenties. Lovely young faces with so much to give to these students. Also just in the beginnings of a time of their life and full and love of hope for each and every student. Thank you for putting my tragedy into perspective.

I will get to your blog. I love what you say and how you say it.

Big hugs,

Suz

Comment by hendrixx2 on December 23, 2012 at 8:42am

Hi Snow,

You know you alwayss touch something in me with your thoughts...with this, how to put my loss, my missing in some context for understanding; this is simply beautiful, thank you. You are so right on when you say we are fortunate to have had those years with our partners, and I struggle to stay mindful of that. The thought that those many young minds will never dream to live, to dream and to do pains me to no end, with the only saving grace being that I too believe things must balance, the books somehow must be reconciled. Thank you so much...Peace...

Comment by Blue Snow on December 23, 2012 at 5:40am

Thank you, Bonnie and may the next few days bring you some good memories mixed in with the tears. I plan not to make Christmas any harder on myself than necessary.  Give your fur babies an extra hug.

Comment by bj628(Bonnie) on December 22, 2012 at 8:02pm

((((((((((((((Blue))))))))))))))  That was beautifully written.. but I have been reading your wonderful Blogs for Many years.   I so love the Blogs of you and Don .. and the wonderful communication. I may have not met either of you in person.. yet feel as if I have known you (and Don) and could feel the Love.

 As to Christmas for the Families.. It is such a HARD act ... no way to understand or cophrend. The negative.. yes followed by the positive out pouring of kind acts and support.

  Sending you Hugs and of course for your 4 legged little guy.  Wishing you a Day. of soft memories, that may bring some tears, but also some chuckles and smiles.

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