We’ve seen little of the sun in more than a week–no natural vitamin D to lift our spirits. This is typical November weather. The gray skies with wind and drizzle seem to match most widows’ moods at some time during the holiday season. The good memories of past holidays seem so distant.
Sometimes it’s easy to ignore or suppress the emptiness during busy holidays, but thoughts of loneliness seem to multiply after we tumble into bed. For the most part, we don’t complain about shopping and decorating alone. It’s simply part of our single-again world, but there’s a longing that we can’t ignore when we see couples enjoying holiday tasks. We simply wish our spouses were with us to share the joy of the season.
Celebrating with family and friends is enjoyable, but the family dynamics have been forever changed. There’s a nagging sense that someone, something is missing. Even the empty chair next to us at the office or church Christmas party, where the tables are set for eight, is a glaring reminder of our loss. So, how do we successfully navigate this difficult season?
We must refuse self-pity, be grateful for good memories, and even determine to keep some of the old traditions. My husband enjoyed good–even expensive–cheese during the holiday season. So last week, I bought a box of crackers and small hunk of cheese that I would not normally buy. With each bite, I remembered those wonderful Christmas Eves when we were together.
Share your memories–especially times of laughter–with family and friends. I’ll never forget the Christmas morning the children came running into the bedroom and jumped on the bed. The old headboard broke, causing the mattress and box springs supports also to break. It was quite a jolt, but we laughed and then had fun the next day buying a new bed.
This also is the season to show special gratitude to those who helped us through the first difficult weeks. You don’t have to be rich to give neighbors some homemade treats with a note of thanks. Inviting friends or neighbors for brunch is always fun and will help ease the loneliness. You have permission to enjoy this holiday season!
Most important, don’t forget the reason for the season–the birth of Jesus Christ. We have hope of eternal life because He willingly left heaven, was born as a man, then suffered and died, and was resurrected. Listen to the carols, read the Scriptures surrounding Christ’s birth (Matthew 1 and 2; Luke 1 and 2), and attend Christmas services.
We cannot change the fact that we are now alone, but we can refuse to feel sorry for ourselves and choose to bless others during this holiday season.