Saturday, December 13, 2014

Facing My Second Christmas Holiday Without Him


A friend called me yesterday to talk about plans for New Years Eve.  She had previously mentioned the idea of renting a house at the beach and getting a few people together for a fun night in.  While I had been quite keen to join them when we first spoke about it, I found myself feeling more and more reluctant as the conversation went on.

For a start, the house will have three bedrooms, all of which she had allocated to the three couples.  When I asked about my sleeping arrangements she suggested I bring along a blow up mattress and crash on the lounge-room floor.

Now, I'm not a princess.  Sleeping on the floor doesn't bother me and I've done it plenty of times before.  But this time I found myself feeling really upset at the idea.  As soon as we hung up the phone I burst in to tears and it hit me that I would be facing my second 'new year' alone and without Dan.  

I wasn't hurt by my friend or her plans, but I realised I was upset about the idea of not having a bedroom because it would mean that I wouldn't have access to a private 'safe place' if the grief roller-coaster took a steep dip during the event. 

I tried looking in to hiring my own hotel room nearby, so I could retreat if and when I needed - but everything was either booked out or had a minimum 4-night stay that would be way out of my budget.  

I thought about driving up to the beach in the afternoon and not drinking, so I could drive myself home when I wanted instead of staying for the night.  But I don't want to do that either.  

In fact, within about five minutes of hanging up the phone I felt myself going in to self-preservation mode.  I was flat out ready to hide from not only New Years Eve (I have invitations from other groups of friends that I could take up) but all holiday-related social events over the coming weeks.  

Instead, I decided, I would stay home alone and go to bed early that night, hide under the blankets with the cat and let 2015 crawl in unannounced.  And there it was again.  Dan was dead and I was on my own. 

It's so easy to miss him.  Even when the grief isn't the biggest thing in my life and I'm in some kind of place of peace about his death, the 'missing him' is there.  The happiest of moments can crystallise his absence and remind me of what he's missing.  What I'm missing. The smallest or most obvious thing can set me off at the most unexpected times.  

I can be sailing along in calm seas, feeling ok, planning my Christmas holiday... then suddenly realise that at midnight on New Years Eve I will have to stand there awkwardly while everyone else around me turns to embrace and kiss their partners. It was a classic light bulb moment.  I mean, Dan isn't going to be here for the holidays - how had I not thought of this already!?  

Then came the realisation of everything else he would miss out on this Christmas.  When I make the trip to Sydney to see his family next weekend, his absence will be incredible.  I can't wake up in his arms on Christmas morning and make him wear a silly matching Christmas-themed accessory with me. I won't be able to find the perfect present to make his eyes light up and bring on that gorgeous, excited grin that used to flip my stomach. 

He is gone and it sucks.  So today has been a teary day while I cry for the fact that my husband is dead and won't be home for Christmas.  When I'm ready and the sadness has been vented enough, I will get back up, brush myself up, and take another step forward into this widowed life without him. 

13 comments:

  1. December 21 will be 3-1/2 years since the love of my life died beside me unexpectedly in the night. This year, for whatever reason, feels like the worst so far. I put out holiday decorations and within hours put them all away. This holiday season there is no joy in it for me. This grief journey is hell. When will this hell end, only God knows.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rebecca, so sorry this is where you're at, I so get the wanting the season to be over. It's good to think ahead and have a plan, an escape from any event you do choose to go to. Last New Years party I did not do that, learned a lesson the hard way. Thought I could smile my way thru the eve, but only wanted to depart upon arriving. I rode with friends, so couldn't leave. Different plan this year, like you, I will see the new year in alone. And that's ok with me, knowing the alternative is to be among couples, but trying to explain it to them is another thing. Yes, we continue to get back up and move along, even at a snails pace. Take care, be kind to yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cathy, I feel good about my decision to be at home in bed alone at midnight. It's right for me for now. A snail's pace is better than going backwards and so, for me, that too is ok. You take care too x

      Delete
  3. I am sorry if this seems judgmental toward you friend, but I can't imagine why anyone would think it is ok for you to sleep on a blow up mattress in the lounge alone on New Years while the couples are sleeping in rooms. I don't know you and the idea of you spending your New Year's that way upsets me. It's bad enough to be alone in your own bed, but a floor with no privacy on a night like that sounds horrible. Good for you for realizing you need to be in self preservation mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. Your writing is beautiful and so much resonates with me. My husband didn't like Christmas. He had lots of painful childhood memories around it. But he still let me decorate and watch my silly shows and even humoured me with playing carols. But now the most I can muster in terms of decoration is burning a candle that smells of pine trees. Last New Year's we were at a party that he d'j'd, and they loved his choice of music. He danced the last song with me, our song. I had him to kiss at midnight. this year I am going to bed early. I can't handle even the hint of celebration. It feels so wrong. I am sorry you are going through this and that you had such a tragic death of your husband. I am sorry you are in this club. And good for you for taking care of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I sooooo relate to this one. On many levels, all of which I wont go into here, but the biggest level is that 2 months after Don died - my good friends were taking a trip to New Orleans for a week , and my 40th birthday was coming up. My first birthday without Don was also my 40th, so these awesome friends of mine TOOK me to New Orleans with them - paid for my entire trip and everything, and insisted I go and get away for a week. It was them (they are a married couple), 2 other married couples, and me. Yup. Now, I didnt have to sleep on a pull out in a non-private room, THANKFULLY, but the feeling os isolation and being the "different" one was there the entire week. They all had rooms in this one hotel in the french quarter, but the rooms were sold out there so I was staying in a completely different hotel than everyone else. So at the end of each night, I would walk to my hotel and get into the bed and just sob my face off. Because I had just spent the entire day being around THREE couples, kissing and hugging and being lovey and going to nice restuarants with them and all of it - and it was so exhausting emotionally. And then I felt HORRIBLE for feeling that way because they were treating me to this amazing trip. Anyway ..... it was an awful feeling, and I would advise that you go with your instincts on this one, and NOT attend this new years eve outing. Just this year. Worry about next year , next year. Think of everything as temporary. "Just for now ... I cant handle this situation." I find it helps to think of things that way, instead of "he will be gone forever" type thinking, which overwhelms me and panics me into depression. It took me 3. 5 years to be able to deal with the holidays again. this is the FIRST time Im liking Christmas again, and it took over THREE YEARS to get here. THe first 3 holiday seasons were, for me, horrible . I had a breakdown at midnight on New Years Eve , actually right before midnight, while at an informal dinner party with my parents. I looked at my mom and said "We have to leave righ tnow. I have to get out of here." I ran into teh car and cried .. my parents got in, and my dad turned the radio on and they were starting the midnight countdown. I yelled at him "Turn that off!!!! I cant hear that!!!" It wasnt everyone kissing that got to me. It was the idea that all of a sudden, I kept thinking on a loop "Don will never ever get to see another year ever again. 2011 was the last year he will ever know about or see, and 2010 was the last time he got to count down to a year of new life." That thought sent me into my bed crying the entire night. IT WAS SO AWFUL. I think being around people and parties and things is just super hard on our emoitons for a long time, so change your plans this year. Protect yourself. Do something quiet and reflective, or do nothing at all, and hide under the covers with your kitty if thats what it takes to get through it this time. Your feelings will shift and change, and you wont feel this horrible forever. I promise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi I'm so sorry for your loss and understand your pain and you yelling at your parent's isn't a good, grief doesn't give us permission to be abusive. Although I'm assuming you were depressed at the time.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous - Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to the Soaring Spirits web site. This blog you've responded to is from 2014, but Kelley Lynn continues to write there. http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

      Delete
  6. This 2nd holiday is.so hard without my Eddie. I pray for the pain to stop. Trying hard nothing helps
    Angry and.sad. I'll try again tomorrow. Thanks f or being there it helps.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The holidays are tough. They just are. I have had to intentionally form new networks with women. My couple friends are great and it's fun to be with them every so often. But for things like New Years Eve, Valentines Day and other significant "couple" occasions, my single women friends and I get together and make our own memories.

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is the second Christmas without Hugh. the pain and sorrow is excruciating...I wander though this empty house and I cannot stop crying - I feel like I need to scream to relieve some of the horrible feelings of living in a nightmare, I want to pound and bash at the walls and the windows, I want to go out into the street and yell my anger and hurt at so called friends who have not given a single thought to this horrible isolation and loneliness. but really, there is nothing that can console me, I am in too deep, too down on the floor, too bereft and broken and lost. the pall of shock that put me on auto-pilot last year has been ripped away, and memories, thousands and thousands over the 45 years we had together, will still continue to surface. I try to just breathe, but my heart hurts so viscerally at the loss of him, the loss of US, us together...and dear Evelyn, you are right - like you, I will try again tomorrow. I am so very sorry for the death of your Eddie. I will send you gentle, warm hugs...

    love,

    karen

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think I would make the same choice you're making. I can't imagine being in the midst of couples on New Year's Eve. My boyfriend died in June, and I simply would not be able to accept this invitation. Going to bed early sounds like a smart choice.

    ReplyDelete