As I sit down at my parents house in Massachusetts to write this blog, about 15 minutes before midnight, it is Christmas Eve. By the time many of you read this, it will be Christmas Day. I find it fitting that Christmas Day would fall on a Friday this year, therefore making it my day to write in the Widows Voice blog. Christmas Day, and the entire season, was always my absolute favorite time of year. That was, of course, in my "other" life. The life I had before I knew about grief and death and sudden loss. The life I had before trauma and triggers and quiet hopelessness took over my heart. That was the me that thought she knew pain, but had absolutely no idea. That was the me of yesterday. This me is a bit rougher around the edges, and somewhat wiser. This me is capable of feeling intense joy and excruciating pain in the exact same breath. This me wants to use my Christmas Day blog post, to let you share your stories. This me understands, REALLY understands, what Christmas is all about
Four and a half years after the sudden death of my dear husband Don, I am finally in a place for the first time where I can say "Merry Christmas" to people and mean it, and when they say it to me, it feels good again, instead of like some sort of attack on my overwhelming grief and sadness. Finally.
However, this does not mean that the holidays are not very hard. They are. They always will be. Christmas will always be a time of year that brings me right back to being proposed to, being engaged, and then having a Christmas themed wedding. The traditions we had as a family don't exist anymore without Don here. And the ones we have decided to keep doing, aren't even close to the same. There is always a sadness lingering in the air for me during holidays, and yet, the joy has somehow made its way back to my life. But its different. It is very different.
So, I would like to offer up the comments section of this blog post, to anyone who is reading this for whatever reason, and who is missing someone on this holiday, to say their name and tell us a bit of their story. Not their death story - their life. Who do you miss this Christmas, and what traditions or moments or memories come to mind when you think of that person on this day? When we give ourselves a safe space to talk about our people who died, it helps to keep them alive within us, and it also helps to let the new joy in. I'll go first ...
This Christmas and every Christmas, I miss my husband, who found incredible joy in watching how excited I got during this time of year. I miss "our" special Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, and going there with him to re-live the epic marriage proposal he gave me. I will miss drinking peppermint hot chocolate with marshmallows with him, and I will miss finding awesome gifts to buy for him that made him so happy, like the time I bought him an electric guitar that he saw in my cousin's music store, and he said over and over again: "Who has a better wife than me? Nobody." I will miss waking up Christmas morning and having fried dough with my family, and doing scratch off lottery tickets and opening stocking gifts at the breakfast table. I will miss the cute way my husband used to wrap my gifts and put swirly ribbon on them. Most of all, I will miss knowing that after all the company and all the family has gone home to each other, I will be home with the person I chose to spend my life with. Most of all and always, I will miss knowing that each second I am with him, I am truly "home."
Merry Christmas everyone. And if you are struggling, and you dont particularly want to hear Merry Christmas right now, then just know that A: THAT IS OKAY, and B: I am sending you every ounce of my love, and the hope that one day in the future, you will hear the words Merry Christmas again, and it will fill you with new joy.
I wish you all the new joys of tomorrow, and the beautiful honored moments of yesterday, combined with living each and every precious second of today. Special love going out to my widowed family - as always, you are the family that I gained, when the family that I knew, was suddenly gone. I love you all.
I would be honored to hear about the people that you love, and what you cherish and remember about them this holiday.