Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holiday Ambushes

These past holidays have been difficult for me. I suspect you figured that out when you saw no new postings. I simply wasn't prepared for the way grief came back on me just when I thought I was doing so well. I never even saw it coming. Not until it hit me between the eyes, resulting in intense emotional pain. The 2x4 seemingly came out of nowhere to deliver it's agonizing blow. The worst part was, once was not enough. More would follow, usually when I least expected it.

Jim and Debi were soul-
mates from the very beginning.
It started with my oldest granddaughter getting married the middle of November. I'd known the date for a long time but the week before the ceremony, I began thinking of how much Jim would have loved to be there. She was our first grandchild and while I loved her, Jim adored her. They became soul-mates, always together whether it be playing or walking or bike riding. She was our only grandchild for four years and Jim spoiled her rotten every time she came to visit.

Thinking how much Jim would have enjoyed the wedding is what started my whirlpool of sadness. After that, I was downhearted most of the time. I often cried  during the classic movies I have always enjoyed watching. You know the old black and white ones that are always on the movie channel. The ones we've all seen a hundred times and still watch over and over. Those movies where the man always loves the woman more than life and promises to care for her forever. And even if the guy gets sick and dies or goes off to war never to return, the women left behind remain sturdy and strong and if they cry, it is only a single tear that trickles down the face.

I cried when I heard the old, familiar songs that reminded me of years past when my family was all around me. Today, my kids are grown; the grandkids too. Jim is gone. And even though I am surrounded by a big dog and four comical cats, it isn't the same. And even though I understand that I cannot live in the past, it is the past that evokes the tears. It seems a vicious circle.

I've resolved to go on alone, even though I don't like it. That resolve is still inside me as I continue walking through what feels like the worst winter of my life. From time to time, scattered memories bushwhack me. Those memories will always be within me. I figure tears will abate after some years of grief. Maybe in about ten years. Or twenty. I'm not sure when. Is it easier when the widow is younger and somewhere in the back of her mind she allows that she may again find love and marry? I don't know the answer to that. Seems to me losing a spouse is devastating, no matter what your age.

One of my widow friends dropped by a week before Christmas, saying she was lonely and didn't want to be home by herself. I understood. Yet when I told her I too was lonely and sad and then began crying, she continued sitting in the chair and never said a word except to ask what plans I had for the holidays. When I told her my daughter was having Thanksgiving and Christmas at her house this year, my friend informed me that she had no where to go. No kids. No family. No friends. For some reason I got the impression that she was trying to tell me that she had it worse than I did. Maybe I was wrong. Probably so. But maybe not.

Being a widow is only for the strong. Sissies need not apply. And I've learned this much. If you aren't strong when widowhood strikes, you'll become strong as you walk the lonely road you've been dealt. There is no other way to survive. I've learned that the hard way. All those friends and family who surrounded me at the beginning have gotten on with their own lives. I understand that the world goes on. For everyone else but the widow. For us, time moves in slow motion. Only others like myself truly understand what I'm saying.

I've read that to get through the holidays the best way possible, change things around so you aren't doing what you've always done. It's supposed to break the cycle. My family changed things around during the last holidays. It didn't break anything except my heart. This year we changed things around again. I'm here to tell you how well breaking the cycle works: it doesn't.

Despite my family's endeavor to make this second Christmas without Jim different so that I might not slip into sadness and tears, I found it of no consequence, though I love them for trying so hard. I found it mattered not whose home we met in or what we had for dinner or when we opened presents. So obvious to my heart was my missing spouse that I came to the conclusion that no amount of change would ever make up for his warm hand, his gentle touch, his lazy smile, his sturdy presence in my life.

Through these past two months, the Lord has been ever faithful to me, saving up my tears in His bottle, restoring my spirits times and times again, and comforting me when I gave in to despair and let the tears fall. He continues to urge me to go on with the grieving till it be finished. He continues to urge me to press on with life. He continues to tell me I'm loved. Even when the tears run in rivulets down my face. Even when they spill over in torrents. Even then I feel Him near. He understands that these past couple of months were painful to walk through.

What I have come to understand is that if anyone knows about grief, it is the Lord God. What father amongst us could watch His Son die while nailed to a cross and not know the agony of a broken heart? As awful as this sounds, it gives me great comfort to know that God understands my tears and railings. While on the cross, Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Christ paid it all. For my sorrow. My tears. My broken heart. My continued grief. It was during these past two months that I saw the truth of Hebrews 13:5 where Jesus says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." In the Amplified Bible, that verse ends with, "I will not, I will not, I will not." Jesus felt forsaken--something I will never experience.

Yes, the holidays were difficult. But I have hope my life will get better. I am content with that for now, for I know I ride on Jesus' shoulders, the place where He carries the sick, the weak, and the wounded. If that doesn't describe me at this point in my life, I don't know what does.

As always,



  1. Sandy,

    Thank you for coming to and commenting on my blog! Stupid me, I accidentally deleted your comment and another one, as well. As if I can afford to delete a comment.

    I hope your holiday and your granddaughter's wedding turned out well for you. Sometimes, I think you have to change your routines of the way it used to be. I am not a widow, but I was divorced, and it felt like my husband was dead, because the person I thought he was, did not exist.

  2. GLAD YOU ARE HANGING IN THERE BEST YOU CAN, I WONDER IF YOUR FRIEND WANTED YOU TO INVITE HER TO GO WITH YOU FOR CHRISTMAS WE HAD 5 EXTRA PEOPLE WE HAD NEVER MET I FEEL BAD WHEN SOMEONE HAS NO ONE Life sometimes just not seem fair, try to cheer up and invite your friend out to lunch and have a few laughs if you can

  3. i am so blessed that God led me to your blog. I needed your words so much today.

  4. you wrote what is in my heart....Thank You

    Heart Hugs,

  5. I've been reading your blog for a while now, and what you've been going through terrifies me. I'm so sorry for what you've lost.

  6. I too am a I found your blog...I am here to tell you that losing your spouse by death is tragic to ones know what I mean ...4 years heart is aching for his smile...for his touch ..just for him ..I miss him everyday ...I try to be kind to myself and eat ..sleeping is good becuse I am allowed to meet him in my dreams...for this reason I sleep whenever I can ...I love oyur writing..thank you for sharing yourself like this ...Namaste MichaelaLojet you can find me on facebook...