Holidays are heavy.
From the weight of finding a perfect gift to the weight we gain over the season.
There is no escape.
Parties, season’s greetings, happy families on cards in coordinating outfits, holiday music starting in October.
Loud, jolly, cheerful, it’s endless.
Christmas is everywhere and it’s deafening if you’ve lost a loved one.
Grief doesn’t care what time of year it is but it especially loves to come around during the holidays.
Never one to miss a party. A constant reminder of what you’ve lost.
I look around and I wish so badly to be “that girl” again.
The one who can waltz into a Christmas party or event, charming and confident.
Full of happiness and wit.
The girl who hasn’t lost everything.
The one who can forget, for just a moment, what her life is like.
The one who has her husband by her side.
Instead I go, awkward and mildly drunk.
Letting others talk about themselves.
Asking questions and avoiding anything that may trigger an outburst.
Because I know.
As soon as the conversation turns toward me, and my life, I will blurt out
And then it’s over. I’ve let the doom and gloom escape.
Instead of asking about my husband, they just start squirming with “I’m sorrys” and then there is the look. The one you get when they realize you’re damaged goods.
As they walk away, all I want to do is grab them, and say my husband’s name.
His name is Christopher.
I want to talk about him, tell stories about our life before.
We traveled too.
He loved to fish as well.
His sister went to the same college.
At Christmas we called him The Grinch, but it was all in good fun because secretly he loved Christmas. At least the true meaning of Christmas. He wanted to be with his family because his job kept him away more often than not so any time he had off we cherished.
Reassuring these strangers under a sea of red and green that I haven’t always been this way.
But I can’t because I know that I’m the odd man out.
I start to babble and fight back the tears.
Swallowing that lump in my throat as quick as I possibly can before I completely fall apart.
They don’t know that I’ll go home, take off my high heels I begrudgingly wore and climb into a cold, empty bed. Searching for his t-shirt, the last thing he wore. The piece of him I cling to every night.
They don’t see me praying for sleep to come quicker than my thoughts. They don’t see me sob, pleading with God or whoever is listening to just send him back.
But I will never be “that girl”.
She is gone.
I am this girl.
The one who will get up the next morning, heavy with grief or possibly feeling a little lighter.
And I will keep going.
I am the girl who has made it through this year.
The one that has survived the impossible, and despite the cruel realities that come with being a widow, I am the girl that wants to help others.
That wants to ease the heartache and challenges we as widows live with daily.
I am the girl that will smile through the tears and still believes in the magic of Christmas.
Because it truly is a miracle that I am still here.
Still breathing, still loving.
And I will still be here for others like me.
The ones I seek out. Gravitate towards. The broken hearted.
Santa can’t bring me what I want this year, it doesn’t work that way but I do have you.
This tribe of strong, beautiful women who lift me up daily.
My soul sisters.
We love harder and I know it’s the love our dearly departed would want us to be surrounded with.
You are my gift this year.
Tis’ the season, and it’s almost over!
All my love and magic,