Yes, they’re coming! We can’t hide, it’s inevitable. The holidays are here!
Although my young children were grieving in their own ways, they looked forward to Christmas, presents, decorations, and celebrations. My oldest daughter was in second grade and my youngest was in kindergarten. This was the first year of holidays without their father. They participated in all their class activities for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas that year. In their grief, these special days in school appeared to give them relief, joy, and laughter.
For me, in my first year of widowhood, I despised the holidays coming. I wasn’t looking forward to any of them! The holidays were my husband’s favorite time of year. He not only loved shopping but he did most of the wrapping and decorating. He was also the life of the parties! So I knew exactly what to expect. I’d be depressed while shopping, wrapping, decorating, and celebrating that year. I couldn’t do it. Not even for my daughters. I’d have to plan something different. Somehow, I’d have to figure out, how to survive the holidays.
I decided that a trip would make the most sense. (If I had any sense that was!) For one thing, this would get me out of decorating the house. Planning a trip would also keep my mind busy to make sure things were done in a timely manner. I anticipated the joyful reunions ahead, knowing that I’d see family and friends that I hadn’t seen in many years. This pulled me through the days I had to shop and wrap my daughters’ gifts, to take with us.
As we pulled out of our Florida driveway for a 4-week holiday road trip to NC, NJ, NY, PA, IL, MI, and SC, excitement went with us. Our first stop was Christmas in NC with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. Joy and pain coexisted that year for the holidays. But better to have both, than to suffer with pain the entire time. I know many people thought I was crazy to take this road trip not only in the winter, but we ended up driving through a northern blizzard that year. I didn’t care what anyone thought, I trusted that God would protect us and only give us what we could handle.
Bottom line….we survived the holidays!
Tags: coping with grief, grief and the holidays, Loss, spouse loss, widow