Oh, by gosh, by golly, whaddayaknow, it’s Happy Holiday time, again! And that red-suited man standing on your street corner’s extolling, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” making, you, dear widow, want to scream, “No! No! No!” instead, because your husband is dead. Just like teeny snowflakes falling from the sky, you’re feeling sad and a tiny bit silly. You don’t understand. Because it’s *hand over mouth* years since you buried that man.

Not to worry. Because I’m a widow, too. And I got three tips for you to get you through.

Tip #1 – Cry.

Go ahead. Give yourself permission.

Pick a time, a place, mark your calendar, and make an appointment to let your tears out. After that, wipe your eyes, wash your face, take a deep breath, and get ready to laugh, heartily! It’s time to get to your local video store and rent an old Marx Brothers’ movie, an old, I Love, Lucy video, or your favorite comic’s DVD. Then tote it home, pop it into your VCR, put your feet up, and let the good times roll.

As every widow knows, sobbing in our cocoa this time of year will only ruin our mascara, and it won’t bring Him back.

Tip #2 – Quitcherbellyachin’!

Open your clothes closet, pick out your prettiest party dress and strappiest pair of high heels, because, you, dear widow, are going to a party–office party, neighborhood bank holiday party, next door neighbor’s house party.

What’s that you say? There’s no party going on in your area?

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to create a party of your own. Just cell-phone your pals, buddies, other widows, widowers, and next door neighbors, and invite them over. Tell them, “It’s come as you are,” and ask each invited guest to please bring their favorite appetizer, wine, or soft drink. Be prepared to supply ice, paper plates, cups, and napkins. Then tidy the living room, turn on your favorite Christmas music, and smile.

House too small? No excuse. Ask everyone to meet up at your local pizza parlor, push two tables together, and enjoy!

Tip #3 – Volunteer.

Call your local Salvation Army, Red Cross Chapter, hospital, synagogue, or church office, and ask what is it you, dear widow, can do to help someone else feeling poorly this time of year. Then be ready to ring a bell, hand out presents, wrap them, too, and help fill one heavy heart missing a loved one–Yours!–with holiday cheer.

Stop thinking misery likes company. Think strength in numbers instead.

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Linda Della-Donna

Linda Della-Donna is founder and director of http://www.griefcase.net. Griefcase is a nonprofit organization. Linda Della Donna supports widows going through the grief process. Della Donna makes her home 50 miles north from where the World Trade Center used to be. Email Linda Della Donna at griefcasenet@gmail.com

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