Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Different New Year

It happened. I actually made it through a holiday without being bitter. Now let me be clear, it doesn't mean I didn't feel sad or have the streaming video of memories run through my brain at different times, but it wasn't bitter. For the first time in 6 holiday seasons, I didn't have flashes of envy and moments of evil thoughts towards families and happy people in general.

I'm sure it had more than a little to do with my overall state of mind. I'm happy. I've been happy for a while, and dealing with life (and death) is definitely easier when you feel so good. I've thought a bit about the difference this year and wonder how much of it can be attributed to my new relationship and how much is also the simple passage of time.

Daniel has been gone for 6 Christmases. On Christmas day I sat for a moment and thought about our first Christmas without him. It had only been 6 weeks. We spent the holiday at my house. My parents came to me, and we struggled through the weekend. I remember wanting to throw up throughout the opening of presents and trying desperately to keep it together so Grayson would have a good day. I remember sitting in my room for a moment and thinking I couldn't live through the day. My mom came in for a moment and she hugged me as I sobbed and I wasn't sure I could leave the room again without it being obvious to everyone else what a mess I was. Grayson asked me if we could call Daddy on his cell phone and tell him Merry Christmas. That question was a kick in the gut I wasn't sure I'd recover from.

The Christmases since then have been a roller coaster of emotion, but each one has been smoother. We don't miss him less each year, but the missing him has become more normal. I think the realization that I don't miss him less has made it easier for me to miss him and still lead a normal life. Missing him is a normal, usual part of our lives now. Every milestone has the "Daniel should be here" label attached to it, and although it still hurts, the hurt is a normal part of life now. He should be here. He isn't. It sucks. It is what it is.

He wouldn't want us to let his death color all things gray, so we don't. We enjoy life. It is the only way we can truly honor his memory. I enjoy life, because it is the only thing that makes sense to me. He would want it that way, and Grayson and I both need it that way. We are still here, and we still (hopefully) have lots of life ahead of us.

Looking back has been my habit for years, but I am beginning to find it not too awkward to look forward. I can see a future for me. It is different. But, as I've said before, different doesn't have to be bad. Different can be unexpectedly good.

Here's to a very different New Year. I think it's a toast I can drink to.


  1. It is good to know that you too still miss your husband, but it is just part of a new normal. I am beginning to feel that way also.

  2. You nailed my feelings exactly...for me, this Christmas was the 5th one...and my grown daughter said, "This is the nicest Christmas since Daddy died."
    As you said, of course, he is missed and it's in the air that he should have been here experiencing and enjoying this with us, but we also are looking back on last year and the year before that and he wasn't with us then, either.
    We all begin to make memories that are ours and times that we share that he isn't here for. The remainder of our lives we will feel that tug, but time pushes that away a bit and we look more towards the future with a smile. That's just the way it is...as you said so perfectly.
    Wishing you a wonderful 2011...

  3. Great Blog Michelle! I am so happy for you! It has only been 3 yrs for me and so hearing you gives me hope and allows me to believe that I too will be there someday. I already have come along way and I know that and each year does seem to get a little easier but I have to be honest I still struggle with the he should be here and the fact that my kids don't have their father at special times such as Christmas and maybe it makes it worse because Brian's favorite time of year, his birthday falls in December and our daughter the apple of his eye was born on January 1st so all the really special days right together. Wishing you a fantastic and wonderful 2011! Thank you for all you do for the rest of us widows! We love you!

    Missy Dilworth

  4. 14 months, 2 Christmases...I decorated this year...it was difficult because at one point I'm thinking "who am I doing this for?"...but I knew, for myself and that of him that lives in me!

  5. Oh Theanne, 14 months for me also and I also decorated this year. For my kids (who are grown, but needed it anyway) and for me. you said it very well...for that of him that lives in me. I still hung his stocking, but had fleeting thoughts of not hanging it next year. He's not here and he's not coming back.

    It's nice to read of that happiness Michelle, hopefully there will be a Holiday when I feel it, but for now I'm still a little bitter. It's not that I want everyone else to be miserable, but I do envy their happiness, their contentment, their husbands. It infuriates me when people complain about their spouses or take them for granted. I want to shake them until they wake up that tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

    Maybe next year...it will be easier.


  6. You are giving me hope. Thank You. I recently became a widow (Aug 2010). The love of my life passed away from a heart attack. I am fairly young to be going through all of this 49.