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December 2017

A Widow’s Christmas None the Less

A Widow's Christmas Decorating the Christmas tree

I’m sitting in the dark with just the light of my Christmas tree. It is my 52nd Christmas but my first Christmas without my husband. The live Christmas tree fills the air with the thick scent of pine. I find peace and stillness here by the glow of the Christmas tree. I have discovered new levels to A Widow’s Christmas this year. Like every season, nothing comes as easy as I think it should or would as a widow. So, this is Christmas after loss and tragedy, A Widow’s Christmas, and it mirrors or magnifies how we try to live our lives as widows every day.

What Christmas means to me is love and relationships. Some traditions no longer make any sense, like for my family piling in the car to look at Christmas lights. But some you just modify, for example, my son will be reading The Night Before Christmas story before bed. Life keeps tumbling along and it is what you make of it even now. I can honestly say I have been filled with Christmas spirit. The anticipation of Christmas morning is still alive and well.

Last year I ran away from A Widow’s Christmas on a trip to Europe. This year I have been running toward A Widow’s Christmas. The waiting of advent for the birth of Christ we celebrate at Christmas has reawakened my sense of gray areas and not everything is black and white. I have found joy, adventure, and stillness this Christmas season. Christmas is a promise of a better life, stability and staying awake in preparation. All these things are still true. But Christmas, cuts much, much deeper with loneliness and a realization of changes when you are a widow. Christmas is different in our various stages of life.

Christmas as a child, as a teenager, newlyweds, your first child, big family gatherings, as a widow, and as a grandparent. Our Christmases mark time but our Christmas joy remains. As a widow, it’s no longer about giddy happiness but a gratitude for the love and relationships in my life. This is my Widow’s Christmas joy and it remains even after loss and hardship. It’s perfectly okay to miss our husbands who are now in heaven, but we need to make sure we don’t miss out on the love and relationships that remain.

In the words of Clarence, the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life, “You see George you really had a wonderful life. It’d be a pity to through it all away” Cherish every hug and laughter as the gift wrap is torn from packages and don’t miss a thing.

Do something just for you. Buy something just for you. Love it all and take it in just for you. We only have a certain number of Christmases and we don’t know which one will be our last Christmas. Embrace your life and the ones around you. Talk to and pray for our husbands. Really own it, when you wear those silly hats. Belt out those Christmas carols even if you can’t sing. Life is big, busy, beautiful and messy and Christmas amplifies all of that. Check out https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/10-ways-survive-grief-holidays/

Many are sad and lonely at Christmas. It’s not just reserved for us widows. Some are distant from their husbands in the military. Some are sitting beside hospital beds during Christmas. Some are working on Christmas. But, Christmas comes none the less for widows and everyone else and it warms the heart and toes. Sending you love and blessings for A Widow’s Christmas. Peace and All Good.