Christmas is a difficult time of year for many of us, and whilst I don’t want to get in to one of those “My situation is worse than your situation ” competitions which some bereaved (and non-bereaved – dare I mention especially divorcees?) excel at, I will stick my neck out and say that for those of us who have been widowed – particularly those who are approaching their first Christmas without their loved ones – this time of year with its false jollity and nauseating Christmas adverts is particularly hard.
I rarely re-post links to old Planet Grief entries because I feel it’s a bit like programme repeats on the television: unless it really is a classic episode you don’t want to watch it again, and even if it is and you do, at some point you will say (or think if you are watching alone), “I remember this one!” and, purely selfishly, I don’t particularly want to remember those excruciating early days. Whilst I now have genuine happiness in my life, it doesn’t take much (the sight of a golfer on the local golf-course doing a particularly good shot; the fleeting thought of whether The Hound would recognise JS if he walked through the door; being in Hollister and seeing a giant screen in the shop with a surfer falling off his surfboard in crashing waves) to start a tumble back to the terror of the beach in Barbados. I remember a widow telling me in the very early days after JS drowned that I would never get over his death, that I would only learn to live with it. I was horrified, believing that ‘living with it’ meant living with constant pain and searing sadness. I now understand what she meant – I don’t go round weeping and wailing (not about grief, anyway; I did get overwrought when I couldn’t get Harissa paste in the local Morrisons which ruined my Middle-Eastern menu couscous plans) – but it’s always there, in the background, that little movie in my head of JS walking away from me in to the sea and everything that followed.
But I think some of you may find the first Christmas without JS posts useful, if only to pass a little time. Here are the links.
It is now the third Christmas since I have been widowed and this is what I posted on a bereavement site a week or so ago:
For those dreading Christmas, a glimmer of hope for the future from bitter and tearful experience.
With several Christmas gatherings looming this year, I looked on iTunes for the Christmas Carol compilation I used when JS was alive. It was gone, deleted from my music library. Puzzled, I then remembered why. That first Christmas without JS in 2011, so sure was I that I would NEVER want to celebrate Christmas EVER again I wiped any form of Christmas music from iTunes, not just carols but trusty Slade and Wizard, the lot.
And now I am reinstating them. A small thing to some, but enormous to those of us who know.
Thinking of you all and wishing you light at the end of the claustrophobic, dark and terrifying tunnel of grief.
Hang in there folks.
I’ll be back in the New Year to tell you all about my move out of London. Bet you can’t wait…