I had a phone call yesterday from a woman who joined a Dementia group I belonged to in 2006. We have been in contact on a regular basis since then. She was widowed about 18 months ago so we have that in common too. She was worried about how empty her life feels in this time when "family togetherness" seems to be the theme of all the advertisements, TV programs etc. When are we going to stop this kind of thinking which is so isolating for the childless, the homeless, the widows and widowers and divorcees in our community? Not everyone will have a family get-together this Christmas. All I could do is reassure her that family is who you choose to be with so getting together with cousins counts.
I really hate that society practice of defining such events as Christmas to our detriment as singles.I know that a lot of older people say they don't like Christmas and find nothing to celebrate, I have done that myself. When Ray died and the family scattered those family get togethers were no longer a regular occurrence. Nobody to blame, we just had a distance between us now. And as the moderns say - we all have a life to live. But that surely should include family. We only get one birth family. And they should be our foundational pattern for growing up and raising our own family. Or am I being hopelessly old fashioned?
I am lucky to have been a part of some great support groups both in my local community and on the computer. There have been a lot of great people I have met that way that I would otherwise never have known. With some of them like Strokenet some of my friends transferred to being friends on Facebook where we continue to contact on a regular basis. My older friends refuse to join Facebook considering it unsafe but that has not been my experience. I feel as if some of the people I have never met are as much my friends as the people I meet for coffee. Pity we have such a distance between us.
I am going to be at my daughter's for Christmas which entails a journey by bus and train. I could have driven up but chances of a combination of hot temperatures and heavy traffic made me choose the other way by preference. At my age traffic jams and bumper to bumper traffic has no appeal. I will be there for a couple of days which is plenty. They will then start their official holidays and a well earned rest. Then I have a few weeks break from my usual activites till the second week in January so a bit more time for reading and relaxing which is what I need right now.
I went to the Lions Christmas party last night and I had a good time. I no longer expect to sit with the married couples, something I had trouble with in the past, I automatically sat with the single women. An older widower also sat with us, he said he finds partners nights difficult without a partner. Every other meeting we just sit anywhere. But time has made me wiser and honestly I don't think about it now. I've said here before that parties with tables of even numbers are difficult but I have managed to overcome that feeling of being a single at last.
I have sent out some cards and got some back, not as many as there used to be but enough to know that people are thinking of me. Sadly each year there are less people including newsy letters. Of course I will also do an email for those I keep up with more regularly.. I wish there were more occasions to meet up but my extended family are scattered throughout Australia and some I only hear from at Christmas. Some of my cousins from England and Canada I can contact on Facebook. I love seeing pictures of their grandchildren, it does make them seem closer, we are fortunate that way now.
My three children and their families seem to do the usual family things, it is always good when their lives seem settled and I don't have to worry about them. Of course nothing lasts and I am sure there will be upsets in 2019 as there is in every year. I just pray we all have the strength to get through it.