Young Widow Forum

Young Widow Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: Lisa on December 02, 2017, 08:16:24 PM

Title: Grief and the holidays
Post by: Lisa on December 02, 2017, 08:16:24 PM
I saw this piece from Time today.  I thought I would share here.
http://time.com/5040988/katie-couric-husband-holidays/
Title: Re: Grief and the holidays
Post by: sojourner on December 02, 2017, 08:39:24 PM
Poignant and beautiful; thanks for this link, Lisa.
Title: Re: Grief and the holidays
Post by: Captains wife on December 05, 2017, 08:51:56 AM
Thank you for posting this - it was really helpful to read. I'm struggling over the holidays this year - even almost 6 years out. I feel like no one understands (outside this circle).
Title: Re: Grief and the holidays
Post by: tybec on December 07, 2017, 08:23:56 AM
Good read. Passed it on to another widow friend.

Oh, the holidays!  Ya think you are handling it all so well, and then it hits.

Yesterday was terrible. MY son was home sick, and it has been two years since he missed school for illness.  I was decorating the tree then, to pass the time.  My dear friend who is widowed 3 years lost her sister yesterday to cancer.  I have been checking in, and it was close the night before.  Her sister was 44 with 4 kids and an estranged husband. My dear friend had to manage it mostly, then.  It brought back so much from her husband's death 3 years ago to cancer.  I feel so deeply for her.

My colleague's father is in hospice, and I listened to her as it has been 3 weeks of hell.  She is going through what I just did with my mother.  Trying to make the decisions, watching the decline, trying to handle it all.  Her ex husband has been dx. with cancer, non curable and her only daughter is dealing with that.   

I just hurt so much more from my own and feel so deeply for others. I was glad the day passed.  Today is a month for the last day I saw my mother alive. She was able to communicate she loved me, and then passed early the 8th in the wee hours of the morning.  Tough.
Title: Re: Grief and the holidays
Post by: jeudi on December 07, 2017, 12:02:33 PM
Very nice article, thanks for sharing. I've always felt connected to Katie as there are a lot of similarities in our stories and at the time I was widowed, 15 years ago, she was the only celebrity I knew of who had lost a spouse young. I'm sure there were others (duh!) but she was front and center at the time. I felt so very bad for her that her girls were so young.

Thanksgiving is past us. It has never been A big significant holiday for me but here is my recollection of John's last Thanksgiving- not so different from Katie's. We were invited to spend the day with friends- we had often shared this day with them in the past. I was encouraged not to bring anything  but for sake of my daughter brought my super yum broccoli casserole. John sat at dinner and moved the food around his plate. He would be dead two short weeks later. Our friends knew it. He was so....grey. They had little kids and I overheard the wife telling her boys that Mr. John had cancer and was sick. The youngest asked,

"Is he going to die." She roughed up his hair and told him,

"I don't know honey." She knew she was lying.

After dinner, in order that we didn't have to leave right after dinner, he lay on their couch. I tried to help in the kitchen. People kept sort of drifting through the room to have a chat with him. He told me later it was like they were paying their last respects. Truth is they were. Truth is he didn't know they were. His denial of his condition was based on the tremendous hope he had. He had the hope because he believed that hope was his best shot at living through his disease.

Yeah.

Our next Thanksgiving, our first without John, my daughter and I spent at the friends of John's step-mom. We traveled to get there. Step-mom treated my daughter and me to a shopping trip to the Galleria in Houston on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We were sort of brittle but glad to have distraction. Then the next day we went to her friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. It was beyond horrible but so bad we laugh about it now. They were boozy lushes and both were slightly drunk on our arrival and it got worse as the day went on. They asked my daughter, at the dinner table, how she felt about loosing her Dad. (yeah.) They allowed their little Tibetan Terrier on the table (yeah. on the  table) and it had two dingleberries hanging off its butt. Not very appetizing. The man of the house started argument after argument with his velvet jumpsuited wife and they kept drinking. At one point the wife announced that my late husband was,

"A fine conservative." (yeah.) He was not. He was never. They didn't really know him, were friends with his deceased father who was a fine conservative. So...yeah.

That was a valuable Thanksgiving for the single reason that my daughter and I figured out it was better to be just the two of us with a Swanson's turkey pot pie for dinner than to EVER be the add-ons or the pity invite at someone else's party. We've said no to what might have been perfectly lovely events because it isn't worth it to maybe feel miserable because we were trying to have something to take our minds off of "it."

This next part is a little bit harder and has pretty much no comedy. No dingleberries. You know how close Christmas is to Thanksgiving so the road to the end was already in motion on that last Thanksgiving. By December 1st we had told his oncologist NO to more chemo. I edit myself when I tell you simply that I whispered in his ear as he had lapsed into a coma,

"Let it go."

and will tell you only that I fervently hoped it would be quick. And part of that was the fact that Christmas was just around the corner. And I just didn't want him to die so close to Christmas because...well, maybe someone out there will understand my feelings without me saying exactly why.

He died Dec. 7th. I am so very extremely stubborn I bought a Christmas tree on December 14th and we had Christmas that year. And we've done it every year since. I used to hang his stocking and then finally put it away in tissue and now and then I look at it. Such a difficult thing to put away. Difficult is an extraordinary understatement. Ya'll get that.

John and I used to sit in the dark on Christmas Eve and look at our tree. I miss that. I've made a lot of new traditions since those days. My daughter loves this holiday as much as I do. My new husband is mixed on the whole thing. We do what we do nevertheless. I still go to the box in my closet and pull out John's Christmas stocking even though our last Christmas is now 16 years past. I touch the fabric, touch where his grandmother didn't finish his name but wrote the letters in ink on the red part of the felt. There is a little airplane and a teddy bear and a big Christmas tree, all beaded and elaborate. The stocking is huge as he was a spoiled only child.

So that is what I'm going to do tonight. It is the 15th anniversary of his death. I'll look at that oversized stocking and shed a tear or two. I'll put it back in the acid-free tissue and close the lid on the box and hang the other stockings.

Christmas morning my daughter will arrive with her new husband and their crazy dog. Step-daughter will arrive in time for breakfast and it will be the nicest day.

Hope it goes well for everyone here. Peace to you all!

Judy