In reflecting during the start of the holiday season, I realized for many widows (including myself) it’s a hard, lonely time while desperately attempting to hold onto past hopes and future dreams.  Holidays bring up many traditions, some lost during the previous seasons of grief and others still waiting to happen.

Like many, my family enjoyed celebrating the holidays with friends.  To us, being transplanted from another state, these friends have become like “family.”   We celebrated holidays at their respective houses and enjoyed the laughs and fun of playing games after “pigging out” at dinner, only to retire on the sofa to pretend to watch football, as the television rocked a few people to sleep.

Those are memories of times past.  Heart warming reflections of a previous life, with previous traditions expressed when my husband was a part of our family.  Now those family friends no longer host gatherings or invite us (partially blame the pandemic), and most of those traditions are slowly disappearing.  Maybe they will return.  Maybe they will not.  I can only hope and dream.

The time between holidays and the new year is often filled with anticipation for most people.  It’s a reflective time to remember the lessons of the current year and believe for a better new year.  For most people, it’s those dreams that often keep us moving forward.  A time to put in place plans for vacations, new health goals, new careers, or even retiring from work and relocating to a new home, brings a much-needed spark to life.

We hang onto those dreams, while being reminded of the disappointing experiences of previous years.  The hurtful situations, the long-term anxiety, the unresolved grief hanging like dark ominous clouds over our heads.  Over our lives.

There’s a place I personally dwell in during this time of year.  A place in between the past and hope. Wanting to believe and dream for a brighter, better future, while daily being reminded of my current situation in and out of grief and sadness.  It’s a trickly place to be, but everyone who’s lost someone knows the feelings- with or without the holidays. Festive holiday television shows, the hustle, bustle of shopping for gifts are activities people do to brighten their lives.  Watching families celebrate their joyful lives sometimes only makes it harder to continue to hope and dream for a new tomorrow.  It can be downright depressing when you acknowledge all the lost, past traditions.  But push through we must.

Hopes and dreams are all I look forward to most times and I chose to pray through my sadness and keep believing.  It feels better to believe and trust for tomorrow- that despite losing my covenant partner, my husband of 23 years, I can still look forward to brighter days ahead.  If I only believe, keep dreaming and have hope.

Jeremiah 29:11“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”


Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and works for a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits.

Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love. She currently runs a widow's support group that meets monthly sponsored by a local funeral home which provides a safe place for widows to experience their grief journey with love and compassion.