Friday, December 23, 2011


I'll start today with a few toasts to the holidays! Cheers! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! and drum roll please.....Death still Sucks!

Two more days til Christmas, and as usual....I'm not ready yet. I still have a shopping list, I've still not wrapped my gifts, and I haven't watched all the movies I want to see or drank all the eggnog in the fridge. BUT, I'm working on it! Carl, on the other hand, is done with his shopping and has only two gifts left to wrap....he's incredible! I'm not threatened though...this is how I roll at Christmas, and while everyone is nestled all snug in their beds, I'll be up wrapping gifts and watching "Scrooged" until 2 am. It's a tradition developed as an only parent - squeezing in the shopping, wrapping, etc while the little guy sleeps, and doing it all by myself.

This year is so different, it makes my head spin. Carl has done some of my shopping, and I've been able to do some shopping by myself too. Carl took G shopping for me - he did it last year too, and it was so nice not to have to ask someone to take him (note to friends and family of widowed folks - take your widowed friend's kids shopping for them - it has to be done, and it is a difficult thing to ask for).

Grayson is on a different plane himself this year. His differences are mostly about age. He is old enough now to want to buy gifts himself and not just let me pick things out. Today, G and I will do some shopping. He's very excited to buy gifts for Carl and K, and has a couple ideas for his grandma too. I'm looking forward to some one on one time with G. We don't get as much of that as we used to, and we really enjoy the time when we get it. We'll head out with Christmas carols blasting in the car, stop for something fattening and caffeine-loaded at Starbucks, and hit it hard at the shops. My mom calls trips like this "combat shopping". I agree with this naming - we plan to take no prisoners!

I re-read some previous year's Christmas posts from myself and others, and the difference is amazing. Although it doesn't seem like it can be possible, each year is a bit easier than the last. Overall, this Christmas my head is relatively quiet and my heart is pretty darn full. Death still sucks. Daniel still isn't here. But we ARE still here, and we are making the most of it. So to all of you my lovely widowed friends - from one of us who is a bit further along this trail. I'm holding a light up for you. It does get easier.

Cheers! Death sucks indeed, but life can still be good. My new year's wish for all of us is PEACE. Even if it only comes to you in fleeting moments, enjoy it when it does.


  1. Thank you Michelle. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I love your truth and hope to see more from you.

  2. After reading this, I feel like I have a split personality. 2 days from celebrating my 2nd Christmas without my husband and my heart couldn't get much heavier. Any upbeat messages just make me more sad and feeling alone. Conversely, I also wonder and hope that my 3rd Christmas will be easier! Therein lies the message of inspiration and hope.

    With that said, Michelle you have walked the path and know the pain of those early years and deserve to be contend and happy with the new life that you have constructed.

    Thank you and Merry Christmas and Cheers!

  3. Today is Dave's birthday.
    And this is my 2nd Christmas without him.
    I'm not feeling like I'm in the depths of despair anymore, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in some sort of numbing denial phase.
    After a year and a half of grieving I think my mind just doesn't wander over into the 'bad place' anymore. And it's not really a conscious effort. I think it's just too difficult for my mind and body to grieve every single day. Tired of being there.
    Whether I move on or stay stuck - Dave is still dead.
    May as well try to move on.
    Today I wanted to post something on my facebook page acknowledging Dave's birthday. Instead of the usual 'I miss him' I posted a few paragraphs about one of his more memorable birthdays from a number of years ago. Made me smile - as well as everybody reading it. (I so didn't want to make people feel down 2 days before Christmas!)
    Whether I'm in denial or not, it sure feels better to smile about him than cry.

    Merry Christmas Michelle!
    Yep. Death still sucks.

  4. From Michelle (still can't post here as myself...), hugs to all three of you, thanks for reading and Merry Christmas. This time of year is particularly hard, but at least it goes by quickly. Be kind to yourself and hang in there. Happy birthday to Dave, Valerie I'm sorry you get the double whammy of bday and Christmas! :( Keep the good memories in your mind and I keep that beautiful smile on!! xo

  5. I agree with Michelle .... it still sucks. It will always suck ..... but it will get easier. Most of you cannot relate to having the feeling of hope. In fact, hope doesn't even reside in the same state/country as do you. It's too hard to fathom, to hard to even let your mind go there .... that one day you, too, will feel hope .... will feel moments of happiness.
    So all we can do is ask you to trust us .... and to keep breathing. You will soon be surprised to realize that you smiled one day .... for only a brief moment, but for a moment, none the less. And then one day, you will feel a small glimmer of hope. It will appear quickly, and then disappear as quickly as it came, but it WILL come.
    And then it will come again.
    So for right now ..... just breathe. And when you stop one day, and realize that you just laughed out loud, or you saw a far away glimmer of light .... stop what you're doing. Ponder that moment ..... and treasure it. You have learned, and will continue to learn, that life is short and happiness can be fleeting. So we enjoy what we can enjoy ..... while we have it. We learn, more than most people will, that these moments are to be savored and enjoyed, because you never know when, or if, they will come again. We have experienced .... and survived .... the worst thing imaginable. And so we have learned, more than most people ever will, that the small joyful moments are never again to be taken for granted. And so we learn to enjoy people, relationships. things .... and love, more than w ever thought possible.
    Keep breathing. Keep taking one step forward .... even when you take three steps back.
    We are here for you ..... and that knowledge helps us to keep going. To know that our pain has not been in vain, but will help you to connect with us .... and then help someone else to connect with you ..... is a miracle in and of itself.
    No matter how very much we wish it .... our loved ones will not be returning. And so we turn our focus to you ..... on cheering you on, on reaching down into that valley and grasping onto your hand to help you find your way out. And knowing that you will turn around .... and do the same for the person behind you.
    Together we are stronger than we ever thought we were. Together we can show each other hope. Together we can celebrate each other's moments of hope, of peace .... and of love.
    Together .... we will survive .... and live.

  6. Janine, I am not there yet, but I must say, you have written an excellent post today. I am in a twilight zone between the horror and sadness of what happened, and emerging from the fog, two years later. So I when read your words at this point I can't say "that will never happen" but still can't say " I see it happening for me." I stand on the precipice, but have not crossed yet. I'm only a few inches from reaching up and grabbing your hand.

  7. Having just got home from a friends open house, driving home listening to "fire and rain" by James Taylor, driving while tears streamed down my face and I thought I have cried everyday for almost two years and 5 months. From the time of my husbands diagnosis of terminal cancer to his death last November 2010. I didn't know it was humanly possible. Yes, the grief has shifted from the "oh my god, I am going to die" to "here it is again - the knife in the heart" to "miss you so badly". . . I know a future exists where I won't cry everyday. I have moments of - not quite hope, but I live.
    I live another day and now face my second Christmas without him. Tomorrow my family will come, my grandchildren. I am grateful for them. I just wish so desperately for his return. But as you said Janine "no matter how much we wish it our loved ones will not be returning".
    So - I face this new year grateful for all i have, For having found Widows Voice last December. There were many moments I didn't feel I could make it this far. Despite the sorrow - I am still here. I feel blessed to have found you. I feel blessed to know the love I had.
    Merry Christmas

  8. It is bittersweet, this trying to be grateful for what we had, and longing for it to be like it was, knowing that it never will. I, too, cannot believe there could be so many tears produced day after day, year after year. Yes, they do decrease a bit, but sights and sounds can trigger them instantly. I am tired of putting on that happy face day after day, it feels so fake when someone says "you look so good". How could I look good on the outside when I feel so shitty on the inside? How can I go on another day without him in my life? And then I read how others have walked this walk before me, and I know I must just keep on trudging forward, even though it feels it is the wrong path for me. I long for the day when my life feels normal again, whatever that may be.

    To all the blog writers, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts day after day; as you know, we can all learn and support one another.
    Like Anon above, I am grateful to have found this site, I know I could not make it without all of you. Have a blessed Christmas.