When you’re a widow, the traditional Holidays, can feel more like a”Holidaze“. Yes, that spelling is intentional, because sometimes it can really feel like you’re just walking around in a daze.
At least that’s how it was for me, and honestly, still is to a degree, nearly four years in.
As I touched on in my last piece, Birthdays and Other Difficult Days, we all know how rough the holidays can be for many people, widowed or not.
Add grief to other types of seasonal blues and/or depression, and you get yourself quite the potential cocktail of despair.
One thing I can and will assure though, is that it really does get better with time. And having a support system in place during the more difficult times absolutely makes all the difference in the world.
I know (believe me, I do) that sometimes it is very difficult to accept invitations, but during the holidays, I would highly encourage saying yes to these types of invites.
If I could offer a bit of advice to those who are inviting a bereaved person to celebrate the holidays with them, that would be to understand that this grieving person will probably be bringing their grief along with them.
And that’s okay.
A bereaved person’s grief becomes a part of them.
Please encourage your grieving friend to recall the holidays with their loved one, and feel free to reminisce right along with them. This is a wonderful way to show your friend that their grief is welcome too.
And for the widow who is having a tough time and not feeling super festive, starting new traditions can be a helpful way to reframe the holiday experience.
If you don’t have an active support group, consider taking a trip, or seeing a movie. Volunteering with the less fortunate is also a good option, for you as well as those you would be helping.
Or, here’s a less talked about but equally valid option: do nothing at all. Stay in bed, eat ice cream, snuggle with a pet, chill out with Netflix or any other thing that you’d like to do.
And finally, please know that you are not alone. As mentioned before, the holiday season can be difficult for all kinds of people, so here is a link to a helpful article by the Mayo Clinic that can help you deal with holiday stress.
However you choose to handle the “holidaze” is entirely up to you. But please remember that any chance you get to enjoy the miracle of life, you absolutely should. No one knows more than we do, how fleeting life is.
Enjoy your life. Your spouse would want that for you.