This post is in response to 3 Tips for Christmas Plans, which you will find at Widow’s Christian Place. I encourage you to read Ferree’s original post for some wonderful guidance and insight.
“Holidays are hard during grief”, Ferree stated. Then she shared her “3 Tips for Christmas Plans”. As I read them, I saw myself in every sentence. This is my 3rd Christmas without my beloved husband, and while I’m doing a lot better this year compared to the first two years, I still find it difficult. Holidays bring up so many memories. I often deal with: “I wish we’d known it would be our last together” moments. I don’t watch certain Christmas movies, because they stir up too much sadness; but there are other movies I can simply watch and enjoy. My goal this year was to find more happiness than sadness during this season, and so far, I’m doing okay; but I’ve hit a few rough spots. Below is an expanded version of what I sent to Ferree about her 3 Tips.
1. Something to look forward to & changing decorations: This is the first year I’ve had a tree just for me. I bought this little (as in a whopping 18” tall) tabletop tree, and the tiny little ornaments that go with it (think the size of a quarter). The tree is loaded with lights (I am my father’s daughter!), and I actually enjoy turning it on in the evening. “Our” tree now brings joy to a family in my church who needed a tree. The rest of “our” decorations are safely tucked away in a plastic tub and stored for down the road—or never again. Those Christmas cards? I took them out, and put them back in the drawer, so don’t hold your breath waiting for one from me. HAHA Perhaps next year I’ll send them out. Perhaps not.
2. Escape plan: Now I know better then to over-do, but I failed myself this past Sunday evening. :-/ We had our Christmas potluck at church and there I was surrounded by all these happy couples and families, and I felt so very alone. To close the evening we had a small Christmas program with the little ones, and I began to fall apart. I should have grabbed my purse and left, but I actually felt ashamed of myself. How stupid is that? I know better. I know it’s okay to have these feelings—yet I forced myself to suffer through it all. I kept telling myself that this time of heartbreak was a growing time, but it was a struggle. Once I arrived home I had a good cry, and then laid it all at the foot of the cross and by the next day I was fine. I’m now also very firm in my resolve that if I need to escape in the future—I will do so!
3. Being my own best friend: Thanks to this tip, I’ve now purchased something for myself. I’d been debating about this purchase, but it’s my Christmas gift to me. In fact, if my beloved was alive, he would have bought it for me, so I’ll consider it a gift from him as well. So Merry Christmas to me from my bestest friend, and from me as well.
I’m a bit ahead in the “cashing in on the offers for help” department—and it wasn’t easy. Like many of us, I have a hard time asking for, and accepting, help. All my life I've been told that I was tough, I could handle things, I could do things, etc. However, asking for and accepting help was a wise and emotionally healthy decision. In the past few months some men from church have helped me clean almost all of my late husband’s things out of the garage (we’ll finish in January). They’ve dealt with everything (including bravely killing some big, ugly spiders!), and even taught me how to use the tools that are basic. I can now drill holes with the best of them, I have my own socket wrench set, and I can put shelves and things together. Yeah me!
I’m glad my beloved chose this area for our retirement. I have a wonderful church home, with a godly pastor; and I’ve made wonderful friends who are like family. I’m very content in where the Lord has placed me, and 3 years ago I didn’t think I’d ever say that. Starting next year, there will be some major changes in my life and I’m excited to see how God directs and uses me.
In just a few days, on Christmas Eve, I will celebrate 39 years as a child of the King. It’s still the best day of my life. The one that assures me that I’ll see my beloved again someday; and best of all—I’ll see my Savior. Because of this day, I have peace to face each day, and find strength and comfort as I travel this new path as a widow. I rest in the promise found in Romans 8:38-39:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Merry Christmas to all of YOU, and especially to all the other widows out there who are reading this. Remember to put CHRIST in your Christmas, and to focus on the One who was born so that He could die and rise again for your sins. Oh what joy heaven will be!