Itching and Aching

It’s official. We signed the lease this week, my boyfriend and I, for the house we will occupy for the next year. I’ve decided to only think that far ahead, and it’s made it a little easier. Because it’s a huge transition, moving from the house I shared with my late husband for so many years.


It’s also not a huge transition. I’m only moving, literally, up the block. And we have plenty of time to make the move, since my current house will be available for a couple more months. I’m going to move a few things at a time and do the big move after I’m back in Kona from my visit back east with family for Christmas.


Part of me is itching to have it done, to just be in the new place already. The other part of me is aching at the idea of leaving my home for over 16 years.


And now, the holidays. They never seem to get easier. Thanksgiving used to be “my” holiday. I loved to invite a big group of family and friends, spend days cooking and baking. I did tire of it the last few years with Mike, but the memories of those big T-days are always front and center in my mind as the day passes.


My boyfriend isn’t big on holidays, in fact he has to work most of the time anyway. This year I will be with dear friends, and thank God for that, since I do not have to work. One of the things my job does for me these days is gets me out of my head. And on a big holiday, when so much of the rest of the country is celebrating with family, husbands and wives…I have only memories.


That empty place at the table. It’s one of the hardest things we deal with as widowed people, and holidays are that much harder.


I don’t have much advice to give, even nearly five years later. Make new memories? We do that whether we want to or not, and usually they don’t match up to the old days with our beloved spouses anyway. On the other hand, if we are fortunate to have other family or dear friends to be with, it’s more than many have, with or without a late spouse.


I am thankful I had 14 wonderful Thanksgivings with Mike, whether I was hosting a big feast, or escaping to an Indian restaurant with him. I am, really and truly, grateful for the years we did share. I just wish those memories wouldn’t be so aggressive every single year, because aside from how beautiful they are, the pain of what has been lost doesn’t seem to fade. And it is oh so tiring.


So I will just send everyone a big hug. Do what you have to do to make it through the day, and know you are not alone.


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  • Stephanie Vendrell
    commented 2017-11-26 13:11:39 -0800
    Oh Candace, I am so sorry. The first year without them is an absolute horror. Though I wish it could say it gets easier, that empty space will always be just that: empty. Big hug.
    Sarah, thank you for sharing this. There are so many fears wrapped up in this move. You’re right- I definitely need to leave room to grief throughout this move, and beyond. Thank you for sharing your journey as I believe we get strength from each other. Xoxo
  • Sarah Treanor
    commented 2017-11-26 07:09:52 -0800
    Moving in with my Mike was very hard for me, mostly I had a ton of fear well up. If he died, I could not pay for the house and the cars and everything. It’s been about a year now, and I’m beginning to feel more settled. The fears are still there, I just tend not to give them much attention because it’s not like worrying is going to keep him from dying. I didn’t ever get to live with Drew, so we didn’t have a home filled with memories, but leaving Texas where all of our memories were was so so hard. I had no idea how much new grieving would come with that move… and am still working through it.

    I’m wishing you both the best with this new move! I know it will be very sad and so hard but also worthwhile and exciting and beautiful. Leave yourself ample room for grieving as you make the transition. It’s tough stuff, continuing to live life and have new milestones, but still beautiful.
  • Candace Woodring
    commented 2017-11-24 19:12:05 -0800
    Thank you for sharing. Just made it through my first thanksgiving without my husband William. It was agony. One down, two to go, Christmas and New Year’s eve. Then at least a holiday reprieve for awhile. Thank you for the big hug, back at you, and know you’re not alone either.