The holidays are upon us, and the last thing I want to do is be a part of any of it. At least, not like this. If I had children at home or grandchildren of my own – which, sorry, I’m too young for grandchildren!! – maybe it would be different. Maybe I’d find a way to get into the spirit of family and food and stories and football and turkeys and pumpkin pies and decorations and shopping and all the fun, exciting and wonderful experiences I’ve had…this time of year…pretty much my entire life.

But I don’t care. About any of it. In fact, the holidays are torture now.

Turkeys are supposed to be deep fried, and Eric is not here anymore to do that task. Turkeys are supposed to be carved by Eric and his father…both pushing each other out of the way to take the task over from one another. But Eric is not here and his parents have moved away. Turkeys are supposed to be sitting on the kitchen counter with the other family members and kids picking at the big fried bird, piece by piece…with little wiener dogs barking at Grandpa to feed them another hunk. Turkeys are supposed to be shared and oooed and ahhhhed over, serving as the centerpiece of conversation at the large dinner table in my dining room and in my house

But none of this exists anymore for me.

Instead, turkeys are other peoples’ turkeys on other peoples’ china on other peoples’ tables in other peoples’ houses with other peoples’ dogs and other peoples’ traditions. The holidays were my own once, but now they are other peoples’ holidays, and I feel like an unsettled outsider invited in to share what they have. That isn’t a bad thing; after all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about…but it’s something that I’m having a difficult time wanting or accepting.

So, for now, I’d rather sit them out.

I know I’m fortunate because my memories of the holidays as a child are happy ones, and my memories as a mom with my husband and girls are, hands down, some of the best, fun and wonderful memories we made as a family. And I’m thankful to have had every damn one of them. But as I enter my third holiday season without Eric, and now both my girls are off and on their own…doing their own thing…living their own lives…as they should be…I just feel empty.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’…each day is just another day without Eric here. It’s just another day without my family, the very one I was a part of creating, the only one that has ever been mine. It’s any Monday or Thursday, and I could just as easily go to work or walk the dogs at the park or go to the gym and run or do the tiny, mundane tasks of daily life.

Which, I suppose, is exactly what I will do so I can get through it yet again.


Dori lost her husband to metastatic colon cancer in September 2016, devastating her family. She is honored to serve as a contributing blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation. Dori is the author of two award-winning novels of literary southern fiction, Scout’s Honor (Pen Name Publishing, 2016) and the Amazon #1 bestseller, Good Buddy (EJD Press, 2019). Good Buddy was written as a way to memorialize the best parts of her husband and the family and memories they shared together. Her short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry are published in several anthologies, and Dori uses all her writing as a way to navigate her life and grief. As a writer, she lives by southern literary giant Pat Conroy's quote: "Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself."

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