I thought this year was going to be different. The Thanksgiving holiday was here, and I showed no signs of the “Holiday Dreads.” That’s what I secretly call my emotional state when the holiday season arrives. You see, I am a 68 year old widow. I’ve been a widow since 2005, so I’m not a stranger to the feelings that the loss of the love of your life brings, especially at times of celebration.

Yes, no matter how hard I try year after year, I get them. It usually starts in October when I realize that soon the holiday season will be here. However, it appeared that this year was going to be different – notice I said it “appeared” that this year was going to be different.

Thanksgiving was over, and the next morning I muttered to myself proudly, “I made it, hooray for me!” I started planning my day, and suddenly I felt that joy turn to sadness. The tears and despair were about to make their holiday debut.

I know you know what I’m talking about. It is that sad feeling that comes out of nowhere, that feeling that you have no control over. It is that heartbroken feeling that you know all too well. It fills your heart with a deep sadness and longing for the way things were before that horrible loss. That moment frozen in time that changed your world. That feeling can’t be compared to anything you have ever experienced. Heartache that only another widow or widower can understand.

The house was quiet, and suddenly I felt lost, alone, and so very, very, sad. “I havw made it through Thanksgiving Day, why I should be home free,” I thought to myself. But, the Holiday Dreads had still managed to raise their ugly heads. Suddenly, I started crying and just couldn’t stop. I cried out, “Eddie I miss you so much. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I miss you, and I love you…”

I hadn’t cried so hard and for so long in some time. But, I told myself a good cry always helps, and I cried some more. It was a long weekend, and I tried to keep busy. Keeping busy for me is a way to combat the Holiday Dreads. Yes, keeping busy was the answer; or so I thought.

Then, an amazing thing happened. I had just finished hanging up the live wreaths outside, and suddenly my mind became full of holiday memories. Our first Thanksgiving together, when Eddie was getting the turkey ready to put in the oven, and he dropped it on the floor. Our first Christmas tree with the homemade ornaments on it – homemade was all we could afford. Oh, and the small train he set up underneath it that kept getting derailed.

I could go on and on about the memories that filled my mind. Even now, days later, the memories still keep coming, too many to tell you about. I remember all the happy times, and magically the spirit of the season had returned to my heart, my spirit is uplifted, and there is no room in my heart for the Holiday Dreads.

I know that somehow, my husband of 35 years had heard me. He was helping me get through the holidays. Eddie was reminding me of the holidays that we loved so very much when we were together, holidays with memories to last a life time. I smile and say to myself, “Yes, memories to last a lifetime… thank you love… we can do this, you are still within my heart, and the memories that we share will keep us together. Those memories are our love connection. A love connection that can never be broken.”

For now the Holiday Dreads have been replaced with wonderful, glorious, fun-filled memories, and magically the spirit of the season fills my broken heart with joy and love, and memories to last a lifetime!




Paula Ezop

Paula M. Ezop is a spirituality commentary columnist. Her inspirational columns Following the Spiritual Soul have appeared in Oconee Today, a South Carolina Scripps Howard publication. They are currently in: Celebrating the Success of the Modern Woman, Esteem Yourself, and Open to Hope. She has contributed to such popular books as Chicken Soup for the Caregivers Soul and she has written the foreword to Whispers of Inspiration, a collection of both poetry and prose gathered from voices around the world. Paula also co-authored a book in the Mommies Line, Spirituality for Mommies. Her Ebook Sparkly Bits of Spiritual Wisdom is available online, it is a collection of her inspirational columns. She has also written Sparkly Bits of Spiritual Wisdom – 29 ½ Ways for Women to Get In Touch With Their Spirits. Closest to her heart is her most recent book, A Widow’s Journey – Healing a Broken Heart. Wiggles Press has published her children’s chapter books, The Adventures of Penelope Star and the Mystery of the Three Dragons, and Lee McKenzie’s Summer to Remember – both are the first in a series. Paula holds the Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University. Her heartfelt and meaningful writing began as a means to overcome the loss of her husband. Paula has now written hundreds of articles and several books centering on life and faith. Her sustaining philosophy is that “we are more than the woman we see in our mirror.”

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