I celebrated our 2nd Easter without my husband this year. While this year was drastically different than our first one, I decided to add a step to the holiday grief cycle—Juggling.

Being widowed during the holidays is a juggling act. You’re expected to keep their memory alive, keep their traditions alive, manage the family you created with them, your family, their family, and sometimes, your chapter 2 and their family. It takes more coordinating than a Dancing with the Star’s episode.

My husband would be the one to navigate parties, how to incorporate both families in events, what to cook, helping me out with our daughter, plus manage church or other activities. He rarely seemed to get upset or stressed out over anything, he thrived around people. When my husband was alive, we had a system especially for holidays. For Easter, we would prep the night before after our daughter went to bed. I would stuff Easter eggs and he would hide them.  We would both get up early in the morning to see our daughter find the eggs and her basket. Since he was a church goer, he would take our daughter to Mass while I cleaned up and got ready for the day. Last year all that responsibility fell solely on me. I had to take on both of our roles to make any holidays happen.

I don’t have my husband’s talent to calmly react in these situations. While my chapter 2 shares the same calm reassurance (and willingness to pitch in), I’m still overly stressed. Its difficult balancing multiple families, activities, schedules and finding a middle ground everyone can be happy with. Compromising is not in everyone’s vocabulary, especially after a major loss.  These events make me resentful to my husband for dying. I hate that I don’t get the luxury to sit around and miss my husband. I’m busy trying to fill the void he left. And no, I haven’t found a remedy for this part of the grief process.

I love my husband but at the end of the day, I can’t be him. Being widowed, especially with children, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep things the same as when our spouse was alive. After a lot of tears and reflecting, I’ve found I must set limits on what parts of his role I can take on.   I’d rather start focusing on what makes our holidays enjoyable together and less “Remember when mom lost her mind over…”.


***Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual Restoring Hope & Peace Grant program? It was established by the organization in 2019 to help widowed women offset financial challenges as they navigate their healing journey. You can find out details, timeline and the history of this grant here: https://hopeforwidows.org/grant/ All widows based in U.S. and Canada are encouraged to apply. Applications open on National Widows Day, May 3, 2022. For additional questions feel free to email info@hopeforwidows.org ***


Nicole “Nikki” Jacquez started her journey in July 2020 when her husband, Jeremy, was diagnosed with stage one pancreatic cancer. Jeremy fought bravely but lost his battle in January 2021. He left behind Nikki, their daughter Mia, and countless friends and family. Becoming a widow at 29, Nikki has made it a priority to help educate and have open discussions about the unexpected in life. Nikki has made it a priority to live life to its fullest and to keep having as many adventures as she and Jeremy would have had together. Nikki is learning to live her next chapter in life and is hoping to help other widows be able to do the same.