Struggling with the holidays

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by Hami1212, Dec 11, 2023.

  1. Hami1212

    Hami1212 Member

    Not an uncommon problem in this community, right? It's been almost three years since I lost my wife of 22 years to cancer. Tomorrow would have been our 25th wedding anniversary.

    Holidays are especially difficult for me and my two young adult sons, who still live at home with me. They were particularly close to their mom, and they have been trying to sort out their lives since her passing. My oldest son dropped out of college after his mom died, and while he is working he hasn't exactly gotten much traction with regards to moving his life forward. His younger brother is still finishing high school, and it's also been rocky for him.

    Anyhow, the holidays. My wife died on January the 18th, 2021. She spent her last Christmas in the hospital, and I wasn't able to visit due to COVID restrictions. The breast cancer had metastasized and she had tumors in her liver, and it was around that time that her body was quickly beginning to shut down. She did make it home for the New Year, but it was only about a week later that hospice began staying with us. She died at home, holding my hand.

    This is the first year we have had the heart to decorate for Christmas. My wife bought a new tree right before she died. It made her happy. We only have the tree up but have yet to decorate it fully.

    I dated a couple of women for a few months over the past two years, but neither worked out very well. I started feeling the pangs of loneliness after Thanksgiving. Before that, I felt like I was managing my grief well. I have gotten back into shape and have been physically feeling good. I started some new hobbies and had some hope for the future. Now, it feels like I am nearly back to square one. I am depressed, and every day is a fight to move forward.

    I realized recently that I had not been dealing with my grief, only compartmentalizing it and pushing it away instead of experiencing it. It's come back with a vengeance, and every day has been a struggle as of late. My message to anyone who is struggling with loneliness and feeling the cold, dark void left behind by someone who was the light of your life is that you aren't alone. Others are struggling too, and are fighting their fight one day at a time.

    God bless, and Merry Christmas.
  2. MICHAEL2023

    MICHAEL2023 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry for yours and your family's loss of a dear wife and mother. I validate and admire your fortitude of raising your sons on your own.
    I get frightened when I read others stories and they're still having intermittent intense grief even 3 to 4 years after their beloved's passing. I'm only 10 months into this grief journey after the loss of Edward and it's been the most challenging time of my life. Like most things in life, one day at a time seems to be the only way to be in the moment, and survive.

    This will be my first Christmas without Edward.

    I wish you and your kids a very Merry Christmas!

    ~ Michael
  3. Hami1212

    Hami1212 Member

    Thank you, Michael. My heartfelt condolences for your loss as well.

    I can tell you that the grief never goes away, but it does ease with time. I still think of my wife every day, but life will draw your focus elsewhere and the feelings become less intense. It's easy to want to feel guilty about not thinking so much of your loved one or to be afraid that you will forget them, but don't. My wife asked me find joy in every day and to move on without her. I admit that at times that has felt possible, and intellectually I know that it still is. However, right now those feelings seem remote.

    I do not know how long this period of intense grief will last. Today was a hard day for me, and I suspect that the anniversary of her death and her birthday will be as well. I hope I can make her birthday this coming year a day of joyous remembrance and not one of sadness.

    Remember that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Edward clearly meant so much to you that his passing affects you as deeply as it does. There's some comfort to be found in that, I think. I am sure he would have felt the same if the loss was his and not yours.

    Take care, friend. If you want or need to reach out I am here for you. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

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  4. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    I understand well your feelings, and I am so sorry for your loss. It's three years for me too since I lost my fit and healthy husband to a sudden heart attack, at only 57 years of age. Saying it was like a tsunami hitting us is an understatement. There are just no words to describe the heartbreak. I am learning to go on for my kids' sakes, and for their dad too, trying to carry on with our lives the way he would want, "taking" him with us in everything we do, remembering his wisdom, his intelligence, his love and total dedication to us, the way he always managed to sort out problems, difficult situations. He taught us so much and his knowledge which we have absorbed, is guiding us along this ever so bumby, twisty tempest. My C is always here, there and everywhere, whatever I'm doing, wherever I am, he will always be present in our lives, just in a different way, in this way I gain strength and courage to make it.
    Sending you both peace and strength.
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  5. Hami1212

    Hami1212 Member

    Thank you, Rose. Posting on here has helped somewhat. While it is sad to know that others are hurting, it is comforting to realize that someone else out there understands what each of us is going through.

    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a safe and blessed New Year.

  6. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Phil, best wishes to you and to your family too.

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  7. MICHAEL2023

    MICHAEL2023 Well-Known Member

    Hi Phil,
    Thank you for your reply and support. We all have to support each other because this grief 'condition' is so painful and prevalent. I would guess that most people we know are grieving something, in some way, every day. Sadly, there's no training for the suffering one feels while grieving.

    I don't think I'll have much difficulty getting through the holidays this year. Edward and I both grew up in alcoholic, drug-addicted homes so all holidays were a train wreck of dysfunction. When we met we promised to never live under those circumstances again, we learned to make every day a little bit holiday style. I'm going to continue with that tradition.

    I do have some concerns about my mental fortitude during January and February:
    January 19th - our anniversary
    February 8th - 1st anniversary of his death
    February 10th - Ed's birthday
    February 14th - Valentine's Day
    Please pray for me.

    Stay well, Phil. Merry Christmas from California!

  8. Sweetcole

    Sweetcole Well-Known Member

    Hey I'm sorry for your loss. We definitely do have to.support one another. Every loss is different. I feel the loss of a spouse or significant other is definitely up there with being one of the worse. We all deal.with loss differently but know you have support helps. People around us that havnt been through it feels we should be over it at a certain time but it doesn't go like that. It's been 3 years since I loss my Gant and I feel stronger on some days. Others I feel like without my kids I wouldn't make it. They are still young so I move for them. I understand the days you say will be hard. Pray for strength to get through them and maybe do something special that will help you not focus on it as much. Praying for your strength.
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  9. MICHAEL2023

    MICHAEL2023 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your words of support, Sweetcole. Be grateful that you can see Gant in your beautiful children. I pray that you have all the tools you need to continue your perseverance. Surely he knows your struggle, and loves you for your commitment.

    Peace be with you.

  10. Sweetcole

    Sweetcole Well-Known Member

    I thank God for.my kids. It was definitely meant for.us.to.have them. They are my motivation to move. Thanks for the prayer. Even though some days are rough we'll all get stronger with each passing day. Stay strong!
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  11. Deborah A.

    Deborah A. Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone,

    For me, it’s a bit of relief knowing that I am not the only one who is feeling this increase in grief over the holidays. I miss Steve every day, but it hurts more right now. He can’t shop with me, he can’t cook or bake with me, he can’t reminisce with me. It truly sucks more than anything has ever sucked. I’m thinking about you and sending you hugs and comfort. ❤️ Deb
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  12. Sweetcole

    Sweetcole Well-Known Member

    Thanks for thinking of me and sending the hugs. It meant alot. I feel everything you said. Not being able to do those special holiday things without Gant and Steve is very hard. We use to make sure there was a tree for the kids. He'd put it up and we'd decorate it together. This year I put the tree up but I couldn't make myself decorate and we didn't plug it up. I feel bad but I'm not up to it. At least they will have gifts under it Christmas day. Praying we both continue to get stronger.
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  13. MICHAEL2023

    MICHAEL2023 Well-Known Member

    Hi Deb, thanks for the hug and comfort. We all need help right now. I don't have children so I didn't even put up a Christmas tree this year, I don't feel like there's much to celebrate (of course I know logically there's always something). I would rather be with Edward, wherever he is, but I will wait until it's my time to go.
    Edward was, and continues to be, my holiday light so right now things are a bit dark, as they should be. The love we have for Steve and Edward was/is so strong that to be anything other than devastated simply wouldn't fit the circumstances. I guess that means we're right on track...

    We'll survive this holiday season. During my grieving period I've had to remind myself that I've also faced other nightmares (two times cancer survivor +) and came out stronger and wiser. But the bottom line right now, as you so aptly described it.... It Sucks!

    Peace be with you. Merry Christmas.

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  14. Sweetcole

    Sweetcole Well-Known Member

    Hey friends! I'm just checking in with everyone. I know the holidays are rough so i just wanted to send prayers to everyone.
  15. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Sweetcole, blessings to you too.

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  16. MICHAEL2023

    MICHAEL2023 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Sweetcole. And here comes our new year. I'm sure we'll all have some growth and forward movement, whether we want it or not, right? :)
    I wish peace for all, and may you have the tools that you need to survive this maddening journey of grief.

    ~ Michael
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  17. AmyG

    AmyG Member

    Holidays, what holidays?! This has been a difficult time for my stepson and I. My husband passed on 11/21 right before Thanksgiving. December 3rd a few years ago is the day we found out our baby had no heartbeat 6months into pregnancy, Dec 7th i delivered a stillborn daughter, Lillian. December 23 is my birthday, Christmas to follow. I only put decorations up for my stepson. He lives with us, well me now, sees bio mom on weekends and vacations. This is winter break for kids. This is first week I have returned to work and I've had anxiety leaving work knowing that I am coming home to a completely empty house. My husband was 43. I'm 39 and a widow. My stepson is 16- I'm thankful I can relate to him I was 15 when my mother passed.
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  18. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Amy, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your husband. I understand all you’re going through. And wanting to leave his glass of water, his slippers etc. I went through all that. I didn’t want to change our sheets, move Ron’s shoes. I lost my husband to a heart attack 5 years ago, 11/17. We had a business together that I had to empty and close. We were together 24/7. And my life came crashing down in a blink of an eye. Ron wasn’t sick and we had zero warning. He didn’t feel well at 9:30 pm, I called 911 and got him to the hospital. They couldn’t save him, he passed 2 hours later. You have other dates that make everything even more emotional all around the time of losing your husband. That does add to the anxiousness for sure. What helped me the most and still does is getting outside and breathing in fresh air. I know you’re back to work and that is difficult but try to step outside during your break maybe. I know being alone or coming home to an empty house is very hard. My daughter moved back in with me for a long time and that helped so much. I hope you will still have your stepson with you for a while at least. Just having someone there does help. Your journey has just begun, don’t push yourself too hard to do things. Just do what you feel up to at that moment. Take one day at a time. Your husband is a part of you and always will be. You helped make each other the people you became. He’s still with you.
    Sending you hugs. Robin
  19. AmyG

    AmyG Member

    Thank you so much Robin, I am sorry you lost your husband. Suddenly is very difficult, even to just process that they were there one minute and the next not. A month before my husband wasn't feeling well and things turned quickly. He got sepsis and organ failure due to an infection. Thank you for your kind words and understanding
  20. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Thank you Amy. I’ll admit I was in a state of shock for quite some time. I trust myself to drive, I wasn’t eating. But it’s like that for a lot of people. The suddenness of now being alone when I was always us as a couple or as one. We all feel it. Who do you talk things out with, those silly inside jokes. And now your phone is quiet, no special texts no one checking on you. But we’re all stronger then we think we are. My motivation to keep going is Ron. He would want me to live life. I try my best. It’s not easy. I’m sorry how fast things tumbled down on your world. Sepsis is brutal. My cousin lost his wife that way, not long ago. There’s no easy way. We do grow stronger over time. There’s no magic time frame. We all need to go through this in our own time. I hope you have family and friends offering you support. Remember, you’re important, take care of yourself. ❤️