Last year I wrote a post about how I felt approaching my first Christmas as a widow. I can’t lie, it was not easy; it was the run-up to the holidays that I found hard. Christmas is meant to be all about sharing good times and gifts with those you love, and when someone you really, really love has gone, it’s just hard to feel happy about any of it.
Having kids helps, as luckily for them they are young enough to not let loss stop them getting excited about Father Christmas coming. They love all the parties, the plays, the presents. Without them, I would probably be truly miserable, drinking too much and going out of my mind with loneliness. With them here I’m kept busy, I have endless to-do lists, my mind is rarely still and I don’t have the energy or stamina to drink too much! Their smiles make me smile – and although juggling everyone’s activities in a struggle, it’s happening, and we’re managing.
My second Christmas as a widow is here and although it is easier, it still doesn’t feel as it should. I don’t suppose it ever will really. I read an article the other day about how loss changes how people feel about big events, it’s like always being somewhere with part of your family missing. Even though you’re smiling, you never stop thinking about that.
People have said to me they don’t think I should be thinking too much about special dates, dwelling on how long it’s been, but you know what? How can I not, when I think about it so much, every single day? It’s not that I’m always feeling totally sad about it, I mean I couldn’t function if I were still crying every day. But loss changes you, and big dates like Christmas and birthdays really make you feel it.
One of the most searched terms on my blog at the moment is ‘not feeling festive’ which shows there must be lots of people out there feeling the same.
Last year I cried my eyes out at Sam’s school nativity. This year I’ve already got through Florence’s without shedding a single tear – only smiles – so that’s progress.
It’s only 10 days until Christmas Eve and we’ve yet to properly trim up the house. Our work on the playroom has held things up a bit, as all the furniture and toys that were in there have been spread around the rest of the house for the past month, making space a bit tight. We’re on the home straight with that now though so hopefully our tree will go up by the weekend and the house will start feeling ready for the holidays.
I’ve planned some fun things in, like seeing friends, nights out, family parties and a trip to the Hidden Christmas Market at Kirkstall Abbey next week. That’s organised by the fab Eeh Bah Mum by the way, check out her blog if you don’t know it already.
I’m even trying to remember to move this elf around the house as Flo really believes in its magic. The only thing is I normally end up falling asleep and forgetting! This little setup on the photo is my only creative elf achievement so far.
December may suck some of the time, but I’m trying to make it as much fun as I can in between!
It’s 17 months now since Roger died, and I suppose at the time I didn’t really put a time limit on how I would feel at what point down the line. Somewhere in my mind though I think I thought two years later life would be a lot more sorted, a lot easier, things would have moved forward. Well we’re nearly at that point and although physically a lot has changed in that time, it really does only feel like yesterday I was sitting with him in the hospice. Not that long either since I was visiting him on a hospital ward the year before, wondering if he would be home for Christmas Day (he was).
It’s been four years since we had a happy family Christmas, but I know it’s all about building new Christmas traditions now and remembering Rog as we go.
I may not love Christmas like I used to, and it might sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, but it is what it is and I’ll enjoy making it fun for Sam and Flo. In the meantime, please bear with me if I’m not feeling overly joyous, or if I don’t get round to writing my Christmas cards, or if I haven’t bought the right presents. I’m here and I’ve made it!