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First Christmas

(18 Posts)
Cathy04 Tue 09-Oct-18 11:54:58


This Christmas will be the first without my husband.

Normally my youngest son spends the day with us, with or without girlfriend and for the last seven years my eldest daughter and son in law have also been here. Eldest son is other end of the country and has inlaws. Younger daughter is local, spends alternate years with inlaws and their own family day. This has worked well for everyone.
It has been mentioned and I have said younger daughter must spend it with her inlaws and eldest son likewise. They are fine with it.

Eldest daughter and youngest son have said independently to me that they want to spend the day with me. My daughter has said we will do what ever I want. Spend it here, or at theirs.We always do the cooking togther. Although that would mean staying over. Book a table at restaurant if I prefer, what ever I want. My son also says whatever I want to do is ok with him. It's not practical for us all to go to his house.
The thing is I don't know what I want. I know being on my own wouldn't be good for me, even though I think it would. On the other hand I had a birthday a couple of months ago. We all went for a meal and it was awful. Everyone did there best but it ended up with an argument between them. The emotional strain was just too much. They are all fine now but we were so conscious of our loss that it spilled over into another issue.

I don't think this will happen at Christmas as YS and ED are not volatile.

The person I am worried about is me. Last Christmas, looking back my husband was very ill. But I just didn't /wouldn't see it. I have so many regrets and guilt. I am scared I will completely lose the plot. Part of me just wants to spend the day under the duvet. But I know my son wants to be here, my husband's death has hit him particularly hard and he is not the type of person to discuss his feelings. Like his Dad.

Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to share this.


Luckygirl Tue 09-Oct-18 12:02:20

Organising Christmas to suit every member of a family is par for the course; but this year it must be more difficult for you all.

It sounds as though everyone is trying very hard to do what would help you most - but it is hard for them to know exactly what that might be - as indeed it is hard for you to decide.

Whay not tell them that you are grateful for all their ideas and need a week or two to mull it all over as it is new territory for you.

I am sorry that your husband is no longer with you. flowers

MawBroon Tue 09-Oct-18 12:29:13

Dear Cathy
First of all my sincerest sympathies.
My DH died 11months ago and that first Christmas passed in a degree of shock. Alll plans were cancelled and DD had 15 of us on Christmas Day (11 of whom stayed)
I found midnight church almost unbearable and the Day found me occasionally retreating to be by myself . However, because it was all so close it was also easier in a way as we all made allowances for each other.
Your situation is harder.
I would say don’t spend it alone. You cannot hold back the grieving nor should you but you also need to let the AC into your grief and into your life. Be with them in whatever setting suits you best. Sometimes the “Mum/domestic goddess “ role can help to restore a degree of equanimity in a very troubled time.
I can understand that you do not know what you want -or you do, but you can’t have it, namely a return to family Christmases of the past.
I was content to be “organised” last Christmas, TBH I could not have organised my way out of a paper beg. This year , well, let’s see.
Be kind to yourself, talk it over with the others if you can, perhaps consider a lower- key Christmas but from what you say of your son, he needs to be with people who understand his grief and share it.
Wishing you well flowers

sodapop Tue 09-Oct-18 14:17:28

Maw speaks with experience and everything she has said seems just right. Your children also need to grieve Cathy. Perhaps you need it to be a shorter day with everyone else then spend sometime on your own with your thoughts and memories.

Blue45Sapphire Sat 13-Oct-18 08:31:46

This will be my first Christmas without my DH, who died in February. We are just carrying on with family tradition which is to take turns to host, this year it is my daughter's turn, and we will all be going to hers . I know it will be difficult, but will try to enjoy it for the sake of my AC and GDs, who will liven the day up. It's the last big day to get through since he died, so I will be putting on a brave face, but still, inside, I will be missing him like hell... I am thankful that his last Christmas was spent here in our own home, and it was brilliant with all the family. Of course, then, we had had no idea he would be gone from us two months later....

lemongrove Sat 13-Oct-18 08:46:06

A first Christmas after a bereavement must be so hard, and especially as it’s meant to be a jolly time of year.
I can’t advise from experience but I would want to be in my own home on Christmas Day, but not alone, so how do you feel about eldest daughter and youngest son staying with you, and you all organise things to be easy for yourselves.
No necessity for a full Christmas dinner, just plan something you all like.If the day gets too much you can retreat to your own room for an hour or so.
Your DH would want you to carry on with your life and have as much enjoyment as possible.Do not feel

Pippa000 Sat 13-Oct-18 09:02:06

It will be my first Christmas as well, as DH died very suddenly in January, I have got through my 70th two weeks after he died, and our wedding anniversary, I have his birthday in two weeks. I am also in the process of moving back from Cyprus and last Monday completed on a little house. I did all of this thanks to the love and support of My son, daughter and Daughter in law. But Christmas is the big one and I really can't yet think about it. I will just go with the flow I think, and work my way through the season, with the help of the family.

Grandma70s Sat 13-Oct-18 09:43:48

I well remember the first Christmas after my husband had died, aged 40, the previous March. It was filling the children’s stockings by myself that got to me.

Christmas Day itself was all right because we spent it with my parents.

Cathy04 Sat 13-Oct-18 10:07:04

Thank you all for your replies.

You hit the nail on the head Maw. I do know what I want and it's not to spend the rest of my life without him.

I will not see my youngest GCs over the holiday period but to some extent wish I was as it would give me/us something to focus on. Not wanting to spoil it for them. As it is we are all adults.

Pippa and Sapphire. Sending you both a big ((hug)).

So what have I decided? Well not a lot to be honest. I asked ED to give me time to have a think about it.
I decided to think about what I didn't want to do as well as what I do want to do.

It came to me that I don't want to be here for the day. We were quite rigid in our little traditions. Same quiz after lunch etc. To think of sitting at the table without him next to me will be more than I can bear. Also, I don't want the day to be something we all just have to get through. I can do 'auto pilot' but just not here.

YS is coming to help me put a bed together and stay for lunch tomorrow. I am going to tell him I don't want to be here for the day and take it from there.

I remember reading an article by someone who had suffered life changing injuries in an accident. She had to give up her career, lost her relationship and had to make a new life for herself. She talked about making new memories in her new life. She said, 'the past is another country, they do things differently there'. I don't know if it's a quote from something.
Hopefully I can make new memories in this new life while cherishing the memories from my old life.


Jane10 Sat 13-Oct-18 10:20:25

Very sensible decision Cathy04. I sincerely hope that you and all the others in the same situation have a better Christmas day than you feared and that you can make new memories without ever forgetting previous days. The past is indeed a different country.
I always find the toast to absent friends very emotional - but rightly so.

lemongrove Sat 13-Oct-18 13:32:17

Cathy it’s good that the replies have helped you realise what you want/ don’t want, we are all different and would choose different things.Whatever you, and others facing a Christmas without DH, do I hope it turns out well.
A good friend of ours suddenly died recently, and his wife is facing her first Christmas too.
‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there’ is from the book ‘The Go-Between’ btw.

PECS Sat 13-Oct-18 13:53:28

It might be much better to book a table at a local pub or hotel for lunch and do something very different. Or buy in a good quality meal so that you can focus on different things this year rather than the things you always did: a favourite DVD rather than the quiz. Next year you may be wanting to go back to a more familiar formula or be happy with a new routine. Whatever you decide I hope you will be able to remember you husband with a happy smile as well as with inevitable tears of regret. Bereavement is a hard journey.

luluaugust Sat 13-Oct-18 15:45:48

I am sorry for your loss. I agree with PECS something different like having Xmas lunch out, a friend in the same situation went and stayed with her AC something she hadn't done before and said it was difficult but at least there were no little traditions to upset her. flowers

Cathy04 Sun 23-Dec-18 17:40:49

Hello all.


Things got rather difficult. My eldest son is spending Christmas with in laws and younger daughter is also with in laws on the day. I have agreed to spend Boxing Day with her as she wants to visit my husband's grave. So far so good.

My youngest son said he would fetch me and I could spend the day with them. He wants to visit the grave first.

My eldest daughter wanted me to come to them on Christmas eve and come home Boxing Day.

No one, including me, wanted to go to a restaurant.

So ED,SIL,YS and GF are coming to me.for the day. To be honest it's the best of a bad job. Nothing will 'make it better' so I have to do the best I can.

I have had a bad few days. His memorial stone was placed this week. It seems so final. The weather doesn't help. I am trying to be positive but it's so hard. I am trying to keep busy getting things ready. Tomorrow I shall do all the prep', sprouts etc.
Telling myself it's just a couple of days.

It does bring me some comfort to know that I am not alone. There are many on GN who are in the same or similar situation. I wish you all strength and may we have as good a Christmas as possible.
Special thoughts are with those kind people who DMd me earlier in the year.

oldbatty Sun 23-Dec-18 17:51:45

sorry but maybe attend to a few basics. Can you or a family member make some lovely soup and nourishing food maybe?
And have very few expectations.

EllanVannin Sun 23-Dec-18 18:17:01

The worst thing I ever did was vacate the home before Christmas in the same year as my husband's death. Of all things I flew to Australia thinking it would help me get away from the years of nursing him and also working at the same time.

As Christmas approached I was having nightmares thinking I was at home then realising I wasn't and panicked. I had to get home before I wasn't able to so booked a changed flight for Christmas Eve Aussie time and flew back to the UK landing early on Christmas Eve here.

I'd never felt so relieved in all my life and I don't think it would have made any difference me having been 10 miles away let alone 10,000 miles. A horrible feeling that I had to get home.

However as time went on 3 years later I went back to Oz a different person and again a year after that.

lure1959 Thu 04-Apr-19 13:10:38

So srry for your loss xmas is a verey bad time it was my first and we allways had the kidds back for the big day butt it was not the same i dont know what will happen next year take care

grandtanteJE65 Thu 04-Apr-19 14:09:29

The first Christmas after a bereavement is always difficult, my suggestion would be not to spend it in your own home, but to do something different.

You say the family want to do whatever you want, but you don't know what that is.

So, tell them that and ask them to surprise you.

I am sorry for your loss, please, don't feel guilty. We all do and have regrets when we lose someone, but usually there is no reason to feel like that.