So, here’s a fun fact:
The holidays are torture for widowed people.
Hell, the regular days are torture.
But the holidays ….
they shine a big red light on the torture,
and then burn you with the beams.
I’m 6 years out from my loss.
This is my very first Christmas with a new love in my life.
The first one in 6 years, that I feel excited to celebrate.
I’m having a hard time holding myself back,
from buying my love,
every present on earth.
It’s as if I want him to unwrap,
all of the Love I have for him,
and never get to the end.
Im having a hard time,
stopping myself from staring at the Christmas tree,
that he brought to me,
and that we lit and decorated together,
creating new traditions.
Each time I look at that tree,
I cant stop smiling.
It’s been 6 years,
and Im finally in love with Christmas again.
I’ve waited a long time for it.
I’m not going to apoligize for it.
This is where I am,
and it’s okay.
Maybe you are somewhere different. Maybe you are not where I am. Maybe you can’t even look at or smell a Christmas Tree, because the very scent brings you back to a time that no longer exists, and you don’t know how to cope with that.
Maybe you have chosen to run as far away from Christmas and all holidays as possible, because it’s too painful to be around family, when your world and family is gone. Maybe you jumped on a plane by yourself over Thanksgiving, and took it to some random place where nobody would ask you questions about how your person died, or give you “that look”, or even know you are widowed at all. Maybe you tried to escape your own life for awhile. Maybe it worked for awhile. But then, eventually, you had to come back home, and when you did that, turns out they were still dead.
Maybe you have no choice at all but to deal with Christmas or Hanukkah, because you have kids, and now you’re a solo parent, which you never signed up for. And maybe you’re feeling anger and resentment and pure exhaustion, at the idea that you have to do all of these holidays alone now – and you feel like you can’t cry or mourn or grieve or show anyone how much you are hurting, because you want the holiday to be normal for your kids, and they are only kids once, and you cant ruin Christmas for them because your person and their daddy or mommy is dead.
Maybe you’re alone, and you have nowhere to go over the holidays, because nobody asked you, because youre no longer part of a couple anymore, and so sometime, people forget you exist now. Maybe it’s your second or third or fourth holiday season alone since your person died, and so people just assume you are “over it” by now, or have “moved on”, or whatever other crap they think is happening – and so they just dont ask you to dinner because who wants to sit down at Christmas dinner with a sad widow who still misses her husband, and who still dares to mention his name.
Maybe friends or family DID invite you to dinner, but the last thing you feel like doing is celebrating or pretending everything is normal, when it is most certainly not. Maybe other people’s families are even more depressing, because it’s a constant reminder that you no longer belong anywhere, and you have to start all over from the life you had. Maybe your entire relationship with your family or your in-laws , has changed or disappeared completely, since the death of your person. Maybe your dead partner’s family blames you, or ignores you, because they havent dealt with their own grief, and so seeing you puts a spotlight on the reality that their family member is, in fact, dead.
Maybe you stayed in bed all day over Thanksgiving. Maybe you slept through it. Or drank too much. Maybe you pulled the blankets over your head until it was over. Maybe you dont ever want to think about holidays again, because you literally cannot imagine what the point is of anything anymore. Maybe the holidays make you severely depressed, and you just miss all the people you love who are dead, and nothing will ever change that.
Wherever you are,
It’s okay not to care. It’s okay to run away. It’s okay to cry in the bathroom or numb yourself out with some wine so you can get through decorating the tree with your kids. Its okay to hate holidays. Or to love them again, finally. Its okay to be at that “in-between” stage, where you dont know how you feel and you are somewhere between the widow fog and starting to exist again. Wherever you are, you won’t be there forever. Grief is an unpredictable bastard, but the one thing it does constantly, is MOVE. Grief is always on the move. However you feel right now, it will shift. Maybe in a week, or five weeks, or 3 months, or longer. But it will shift, and then you will feel differently. Each set of holidays for me has been a challenge, but a totally different kind of challenge. The emotions and issues I face now, 6 years into this, are one I could have NEVER seen coming or known about.
The most important thing is this: Wherever you are right now, that is exactly where you are supposed to be. And you will remain there, until your brain and heart and soul are ready, to move into the next thing. So, please dont punish or hate yourself for not being able to move through this as quickly as other people expect. Do what you need to do in order to keep going. Try your best to take care of yourself. Drink water. Eat food. Go for walks. Express emotion whenever possible. Write shit down. Talk to people who get it. And dont spend too much time with the people who exist only to judge you or criticize you. Your entire life has been rocked to it’s core. You need empathy. Compassion. Love. Those are the things that will help you to move through this.
The holidays will look and feel different from now on, even when you come to a place where you might love them again. I am there now, and I can tell you, that I love them differently. Everything is different now. I love everything differently. Perhaps with more depth, more knowledge, and more urgency. There are still things I cant do, even 6 years later. There are still things that hurt too much, or make me miss him too much, to try and do. I have found that keeping some traditions alive that make me feel close to him, along with creating new traditions that make new and beautiful memories, is what makes my soul feel good. Do whatever works for you, today. And know that it very well might be different, tomorrow.
Wherever you are,
is exactly where you should be.
You are there,
because you still need to work through that part of things.
Once you do, the grief will shift again,
and youll be somewhere different.
Wherever you are,
You’re going to be okay.