Archive for December, 2013

I survived

I survived….

… Christmas, that is.

I won’t lie to you, the week before Christmas, I was not feeling great.  The weight of another Christmas without Greg weighed heavily on my mind.
I missed him.
I know I miss him every day, but last week I really missed him.

I missed sitting on the couch and snuggling, watching the lights on the tree flicker.
I missed talking to him about everything.
I missed his strong arms.
I missed his safe embrace.
I missed seeing the kids play with him.
I even missed seeing him stuck under a piece of machinery, tinkering away for hours on end.

I was sad.
Really sad.
Should-have-been-medicated sad.

But then on Sunday, I received an e-mail from my friend that made me feel less alone.

On Monday, we went to stay the night with one of my oldest friends and her family.  She is the friend that introduced Greg and I, 20 years ago.  Greg was best man at their wedding.  We drove to their resort-like house on the hill on the other side of the city and we swam in their pool and drank champagne while all of the children played.  I walked through the bushland at their house and smelt the eucalyptus. We laughed and cried and it felt so wonderful to be there.

On Tuesday, I got a phone call from my friend who lives too far away from me.  I haven’t known him long, but it feels like we’ve known each other far longer.  He is a widower with a school-aged child: we understand each other. Talking to him put me on a high for the rest of the day ….. to the point that when I took the children to church for the Christmas Eve service, I actually sang every carol.  I sang the harmonies and the descants.  I sang for the love of singing, if not from the love of the song itself.  This is HUGE. This is the first time I have sung inside a church for the past 3 years and 9 months and 24 days…..

Christmas Day itself was so much better than I could have imagined last week.  Of course I missed Greg like crazy, but for the first time since he died, I felt some of that old Christmas joy float in on the breeze.  My children showered me with love and my darling parents came bearing food and gifts.
It was hot here (Australian Christmases usually are), but we feasted on cold meats and salads, enjoyed Mum’s plum pudding and ended the day with a swim ….
…..and if you know me, you know that swimming is my path to instant happiness.  I don’t want to sound trite, but some of the most peaceful and surreal experiences I have ever had have been when I was floating on my back, staring up at the sky, remembering how much he loved me.

….and so I find myself on Boxing Day feeling the best I have since Greg died.
Last week, I couldn’t envision any way that I would feel this calm, peaceful and even happy.

Again, love has saved the day.

Love never dies.


Surviving Christmas

Surviving Christmas

I am finding it hard to find any Christmas spirit this year.

I have no idea if I have bought the children presents that they will enjoy… just a couple of small gifts to keep up the pretense of Santa.

I have not sent a Christmas card in years … they remind me too much of all those funeral “thank you” cards that sat on my dining room table and mocked me for months after Greg’s death before I threw the lot of them in the bin and decided I just wasn’t going to do it and if anyone was offended, tough luck.

I am no longer a Christian, so there is no religious element to lift my spirits.
I don’t sing carols anymore: I used to enjoy singing so much.  They are now meaningless to me.
I sit through Christmas services at the church where I was married and where we had Greg’s funeral service. I go for my children. That they still have any faith is incredible to me when mine has gone.
I love the minister as he is a truly lovely man, but the words he speaks don’t reach my ears.  My heart is closed to the words that used to fill me with joy.
I smile at the people who look at me, wondering why my mouth does not open to sing and why I remain seated instead of taking communion.
None of it feels real to me anymore.
None of it has any meaning.
None of it gives me hope or joy or peace.

(Side note –  if  religion gives you peace, that’s great!  It just doesn’t do it for me).

But I have found something else that smoothes a balm onto my jangled nerves.
Another source of comfort when it is all I can do not to try to scratch my skin off so that I feel something.
A way of making things bearable when they are definitely not OK.

….and it comes in the form of other widows and widowers who don’t try to make everything joyful or happy or peaceful.
Who know what it is like to choose life and light every morning when there are days that you can only see the darkness.
Who laugh at how absurd it is that we have both found ourselves here (How the hell did we get here? Really? here?  He’s dead?  dead!   How did that even happen? How is this even possible?).

Each and every widow who looks around and wonders how the hell they arrived here and reaches out to another person wondering the same thing  makes this season bearable.
They don’t knit Christmas decorations and coat the house in tinsel and fake goodwill and love to all humans…
… they actually mean that love.

I hate that you guys have to be here with me, but I thank you for being here.
You are definitely making a difference.
Thank you.