This second Holiday Season is harder than the first. Last year I traveled to Tampa, so it wasn’t like I was in familiar territory trying to keep up Christmas traditions. This year I’m living in Tampa and decided I wanted to get a Christmas tree. It has been eight years since I’ve put up a tree and I was excited. I went to a tree farm with my younger son and my granddaughter (his niece).  We wandered the field and finally settled on a tree, which my son cut down. When I got it home and took down my tubs of decorations from the attic, I realized I only had one string of lights, and not a lot of ornaments. I cried big tears, thinking it was the ugliest tree I’d ever seen. But, it has grown on me. 


However, the saddest thing for me was the tub of items that got lost somehow in my three moves since my husband’s death last year. This was the tub with my snowman collection, my Christmas mugs and my Christmas CDs.  Now, I realize these are just things, frivolous things. But sentimental things. Each snowman came with a memory. A few of the CDs were gifts from my husband. 


I just have a CD player in my car, so that would have been the only place I would have listened to them anyway. But, I was looking forward to all of that. It was just one more loss to deal with.


But, I’m okay. Yes, I cried some ugly tears. I felt sorry for myself. But, then I remembered my two mottos: ”Moving Forward” and  “Do the Next Thing”.  I also remembered the words from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas –  “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” 


On a happy note, just as I was about to post this, there was a noise at my front door. I opened it to find a package, not from amazon but hand wrapped. The tag said “Open me right now! Do not wait for Christmas!” Inside were three Christmas albums on vinyl. A gift from my son.


Angie Bell was born in Georgia but raised in Florida to where she recently returned after six years in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a former teacher who loves hiking, photography, and writing, often combining all three.

After planning for several years, working on a way to live on a shoestring budget, Angie’s husband of 41 years put in for early retirement so they could move back home. They put their house on the market and had a contract within four days. Less than two weeks later her husband was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. They decided to transfer his care and move back to Jacksonville, Florida, renting a furnished apartment and hoping for a miracle. One month later he was gone. After her third move in less than a year, Angie is now in Tampa where her grandchildren live, trying to find her way in her new life. God, in His mercy, has put numerous other widows in her life and a new empathy for this sisterhood she never would have chosen.