Friday, October 22, 2010

The Holiday Season

I am really dreading the months of November and December for several reasons:
  • November 11th would have been our third wedding anniversary.
  • December 10th would have been Michael's fifty-fifth birthday.
  • December 22nd is my birthday.
  • And, of course, there's Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
That's a lot to get through without Michael, and I'm trying to decide how to handle each of those days. Obviously, our special days cannot ever be the same. I'm trying to figure out how to honor our anniversary and his birthday without his presence.

As for the standard holidays, I do not want them to be the same for me this year as they have been in years past. I need a change. I'm thinking about going down to San Diego to have Thanksgiving with my aunt's family, but what to do about Christmas?

I'm open to suggestions - especially from those who've had to get through that first year after the loss of a spouse or other significant family member.


  1. Holidays are hard without our loved ones! The first Christmas season after my TuTu died, I didn't realize how affected I was until I got an invitation to a chapel ceremony that Hospice has every year. I went and sat with people like me who were remembering their loved ones and some had such fresh grief even though several years had gone by since their loved one's death. I realized I was days from the first anniversary of my TuTu's death and that helped me understand why I felt so raw like I did.

    This holiday season is your Transitional Holiday Season. Next year you will have your child and will begin a whole new set of traditions. Do whatever feels right to you this year.

    One way you can honor Michael's birthday and/or your anniversary is to get a scrapbook and put little momentos or cards in them. On the cards, you can write exactly what you want, such as, "I wish you were here, I miss you so much. Our baby is growing inside me..."

    This collection can be just for you or you can do it with the intent of sharing it with your child later. In addition to what you'd want to write from you on the cards, add something you specifically remember about Michael, something you may have discussed when planning parenthood with him, like, "Your dad said you wouldn't get to date until you're 25" or "Your dad said you can borrow the car as long as he's in the backseat". It could even be a story about Michael from when he was a baby that his mom told. Your child will probably want to know as much about his/her dad as possible and once you have "mommy brain" there are some things you might forget.

  2. The first one is the worst. There is a gaping hole left in the season. My best friend lost her husband unexpectedly when she was 8 months pregnant with their first child. She was only 29 years old at the time. She spent the holiday with her family and her baby boy was 1.5 months old. It helped to be with her family, but she said it still was terrible. I like the suggestion from K. It will be a little bittersweet, but it could be the start of a tradition that you can add a page as the years go by.

  3. I have no advice for you, and I can only imagine how hard it will be, but know that I will be praying you through it, and maybe look forward to next year as you celebrate with your wee little one!

  4. You are welcome to spend Christmas with us- It will give you a taste of what Christmas morning with kiddos will be like! Maybe you could request an OB appt. with an ultrasound on Mike's birthday? It would be a special memory. I'm praying for you friend. I know this will be a very difficult time, but know that God is holding you close, that you are surrounded in prayer, and that your precious baby is getting closer to being in your arms every day.

  5. Dear Joannah, Wow, those dates are snowballed together! I'll certainly be praying for you, that God will lavish you with the grace of His mysterious ways. We'll be looking at some books with suggestions for the holidays next Thursday on the WC Place blog, and I hope to add helpful input from other widows as the dates draw closer. I like what everyone's said already, and you're wise to plan ahead. Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual event, so I hope that'll be your case. Hugs to you.

  6. I wish had words of wisdom here, but I do not. I like the idea od strating anew tradition while at the same time honoring Michael. There were some great ideas here too, you have a wonderful support system here and I hope that something suggested resonates with you.

    I love the number 1111, so it made me smile when I saw your anniversery date is 11/11. Not sure why, but I think there's something spiritual about those numbers.

    I am thinkinf of you Joannah and I really hope that God continues to bless you with his Grace during the next couple of months. We are here for you. xoxoxoxx

  7. Joannah dear: I understand you feeling like you need to do something different for the holiday's but remember that no matter where you are or who you are with the loss will still be with you. You can't escape it or run from it. But I support whatever decision you decide to make. I love you and my prayers for you continue. Love, Marla


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