A recent widower writes the following:
I lost my wife of 23 years this September to an extended illness. My wife always made the holiday season so special and I’m not looking forward to the holidays without her. Yes, I’ll have children (16, 19, and 21) friends and family to visit and spend time with so I won’t be alone. However, I just don’t know if I can make it through this time without having a complete breakdown or ruining the holidays for others. Do you have any suggestions of things I can do to take some of the sting off this holiday season? What did you do make it through the holidays after your wife died?
First, sorry to hear about your wife. It seems like the first time through the holidays is always the hardest. But even though your late wife won’t be there to share the holidays with you, that doesn’t mean this time of year has to feel empty or pointless.
The best thing you can do is to stop thinking about your loss and focus your thoughts and energy on others this holiday season. There are lots of ways to do it, but here are some ideas to get you thinking: Work with a local church or charity and see if you can buy some presents for a needy family. If you’re feeling adventurous, dress up as Santa Claus and deliver the presents in person (or get a friend to do it). Maybe you can volunteer your time with a soup kitchen or visit a nursing home and spend some time with those who may not have any family during this season either. Invite your neighbors to a party or dinner. Help a neighbor string Christmas lights. Shovel a neighbor’s walk. Think of ways to help your talents and abilities to help others. For your kids or other family members, take them out to a fun holiday movie. Drive around and see some Christmas lights or take a special family vacation to get away from things. There’s countless things you can do but you have to start thinking of ways to help other people need instead of what (or who) is missing from your life.
Thinking about others and giving of yourself isn’t cure all for your loss this time of year. There will be times you’ll miss your wife and all the things she did to make this season special and you might just need to take a few minutes have yourself a good cry. But you can remove a big part of the sting by cheering others up and helping those who may also are experiencing a difficult times this holiday season. Yes, the holidays won’t be the same without your late wife but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. Just think of things you can do for others and you’ll find that the holiday season won’t as gloomy or sad as you think they might be.