Gransnet forums


Getting through the christmas period

(57 Posts)
craftyone Thu 19-Dec-19 15:40:01

I am trying to be detached. My husband of 45 years died early 2019 and I am grateful to have had that time with him. I am busy, always busy, it stops me thinking. I set myself unconscious targets and live in the moment. A cycle ride, making buns, doing the washing, all are targets

Everything stops for the holiday, I have a small amount of time with family but mostly on my own. I am ok being on my own because of targets, things to do. I need to face christmas, the emotional side. Am thinking of doing that tonight when the salvation army is playing in my small town. I am fearful. I know it will be hard to keep the tears in check and will be grateful it will be dark. I want to give the army a donation to help them in their good work, so I have to go and I need to face the emotion

That is the hard bit. I have treats for most days, good chocolates, nice food, dvds, reading, knitting. The holiday will pass and all I need to do is to think of the frazzled, those who would have liked two of my quiet days

Calendargirl Thu 19-Dec-19 15:44:45

You sound very brave.

Teetime Thu 19-Dec-19 15:46:45

craftyone I am so sorry for your loss and understand that this time of year is very difficult. My daughter lost her husband a year ago after a very short traumatic illness (pancreatic cancer). She has been very busy all year but now things have gone quiet and she is feeling it badly, hoping that Christmas will come and go quickly. I shall be thinking of you both over Christmas and hoping you find some peace and some happy memories to treasure.

Persistentdonor Thu 19-Dec-19 15:57:53

Craftyone you have reached all the targets you set yourself so far, and well done for that. You sound like a brave and strong person.
The anniversaries will always be difficult, but I am sure all the planning you have done will be very helpful to you.
I do hope you can relax into the peace of your quiet days, and if you need to shed tears at times that is definitely ok too. flowers

Anniebach Thu 19-Dec-19 16:02:30

It is so hard but you will come through it , if you want to cry
when you attend the Salvation Army are playing this evening, cry. I use to tin rattle for the Army when they came to our town st Christmas, it was not at all unusual to see someone cry.

Take care x

Hetty58 Thu 19-Dec-19 22:58:37

I found it helped a lot to do things very differently after I lost my husband. I spent far more time away from home.

A lot of the Christmas traditions and rituals went straight out of the window. We spent the first Christmas without him at a friend's house.

I slept in a different bedroom. We ate in a different room (swapped lounge and dining room), took the dog out on new routes and changed routines. He wasn't so obviously 'missing' then.

A lady in this road (Dolly) volunteered with the Salvation Army after her husband died. She was very old but sprightly and would help out with all the preparations for their Christmas dinner. She helped at the church too, although not religious. I'm sure the keeping busy was essential for her too.

BlueSapphire Thu 19-Dec-19 23:33:12

Last Christmas was my first without my DH, {after 46 years of marriage), some things I did the same, and some different. I no longer to go town on decorations, but have been determined to have a tree and put all the favourite ornaments on it. But I did buy a new smaller prelit tree as I could not see me coping with putting the old big one up, and stringing the lights on it. And as I usually look after the DGDs at some time over the holiday it is good to keep up the semblance of normality and make the house look bright and festive.

I stayed with DD last Christmas, so although I still woke up on the day with a space next to me in bed, there were people in the house. This year though, I am going to DS and family, and as he lives just round the corner I have decided to stay at home, and just go up to his for days. So next Wednesday will be my first Christmas ever waking up to an empty house (apart from the cats!). I will get through it and have bought myself some fizz and will have it with a special breakfast. And raise a glass to DH!

I just kept thinking that DH would break his heart if he thought I was just sat grieving and moping, and I put on a happy face and get on with things. I make myself go out and do activities that I would never have done before and try to keep busy. I am a lot more sociable now, and plan holidays on my own and little outings.

There are bound to be some sad moments next week, but hope that the happy ones will outweigh them.

Daddima Thu 19-Dec-19 23:36:34

My parents both died or were dying at this time of year, as did two dear friends. Sadly, it looks as if the Bodach is following the trend, so I feel it’s no wonder I hate the sight of a Christmas tree in the house. I’ll let the grandchildren decide at the weekend if they want to retreive my boxed, ready lit, ready decorated tree from the loft.

whywhywhy Thu 19-Dec-19 23:57:09

I feel for everyone who has lost a loved one. This year I've lost one aunt, one cousin, two friends, two neighbours and my beautiful 20.5 year old cat. Cry if you want to and don't try and hold it in. Be kind to yourself. Christmas hurries here but it also hurries away. It's one day. Thinking of you all and Sending you all love and hugs. Xx

Hetty58 Thu 19-Dec-19 23:57:24

Mine's in it's box in the garage. I'm not here for Christmas day and really can't be bothered to do it - even though the GC are staying. I have candles and a stag ornament out, quite enough methinks!

polnan Fri 20-Dec-19 10:26:21

you wanna see me crying! no you don`t. tears just come , heartbroken, 50 years this Jan. coming.. he died nov.12.cremation dec 17th.. now....

JS06 Fri 20-Dec-19 10:28:16

Well done crafty one for your efforts, they’re humbling. I hope you managed to enjoy some of the event last night if you managed to go.

angiestivy Fri 20-Dec-19 10:30:13

I lost my husband nearly 2 months ago and am facing my first Christmas without him. He always loved this time of year, particularly when the children were young when he would be awake before them, excited for them to wake up & open presents.
I have put up a few decorations, with the help of my grandchildren, & am trying to make an effort as this is what he.would have liked me to do. Am shedding a few tears as I try to write this.
Will be spending Christmas Day at my sons house, so will avoid direct comparisons with last year.
In a strange way am almost looking forward to New Year, as I am trying to look upon it as a new start. Life is never going to be the same, but hopefully will bring new challenges.
Don’t know if I am just fooling myself and that grief is going to hit me like a ton of bricks shortly, but at present am just dealing with things day by day.

lovebooks Fri 20-Dec-19 10:34:13

My first Christmas without David was hell, although my lovely daughter tried her utmost to make it not so, and will do it again this year. Christmas is awful when you're bereaved, and my thoughts and hugs go out to anyone on this forum who is. Nothing can make it better, but yes, I do understand.

25Avalon Fri 20-Dec-19 10:38:58

The first Christmas after my son died I did not want to celebrate Christmas at all but was persuaded by the family that I should even in a minor way. I got the Christmas tree down from the loft but instead of the usual decorations went out and bought lights with stars. I also bought a big silver star for the top of the tree and some hanging silver icicles. Nothing else went on the tree and it was very calming and peaceful. I was not, however alone in the house as you are.
Loads of people cry when they hear carols as we think of people who are no longer with us.
Do try to keep busy but if you are having a bad moment which can suddenly come from nowhere can you ring a member o have a quick chat? I found this very helpful.
Perhaps you could volunteer to help somewhere over Christmas?
There are a couple locally who are alone for Christmas dinner and have invited any one person on their own to go to their house and share it with them. Isn't that a lovely thing to do! There are so many things we can do but how many of us do so maybe this is your opportunity to do something and bring good out of bad.
I wish you a peaceful Christmas.

Sparklefizz Fri 20-Dec-19 10:40:46

My heart goes out to all who are suffering at this time. My wedding anniversary was New Year's Eve so that was a hellish time for me for the first 10 years .... it's not a date to be easily passed over .... and those empty Christmases are very tough. Also my favourite Aunt died on Christmas Day a few years ago, followed totally unexpectedly by my Mum 4 days later. I am a bit "Bah! Humbug" with Christmas now.

I just get through this time of year with planning - books to read, DVDs to watch, reminding myself that many people are worse off, and also this time of year is not necessarily as shown in the adverts, plus crying in private (my adult children think I should be over it by now as it's been years), and telling myself that this time will pass..... and it surely does.

Grief can still hit a long time later - a song on the radio or in the supermarket, many other triggers. But it's the price we pay for having loved.

I buy myself some indoor bulbs and as I see those green spikes poke through the earth, I think of new beginnings and the coming of Spring. As angiestivy says above about a new year and a new start.

jaylucy Fri 20-Dec-19 10:42:55

craftyone, there is no reason why you can't cry, there is no limit to the time for people to grieve.
What worries me, is I get the impression that you have set yourself targets for various things rather than allow yourself to go through the entire grieving process.
Many many people get emotional over Christmas and still find it difficult years after their loved one has died - there is no problem with that, as far as I can see. We are all different.
When the Sally Army come round, no reason why you can't just pop out, put your donation in the collecting bucket and then go back into your house without even saying anything. If the tears come, let them !
I have always found that once you get past the first ones - Christmas, birthday, anniversary etc that it seems to somehow get a little easier.
Much love to everyone that is grieving at this time of year.

Gingergirl Fri 20-Dec-19 10:48:00

I can sense the fear in your post. Its good that you have set some targets but I wouldn’t be afraid of showing your grief to yourself or anyone else. It does have to be expressed one way or could set a time for that each day, like you have for other things...and that time will also pass and you’ll be able to get on with the day. Know that you aren’t alone. Many of us will be grieving this Christmas. It doesn’t get easier but you can learn to live with it, 💜

25Avalon Fri 20-Dec-19 10:51:08

That should say can you ring a member of the family for a quick chat if you are having a bad moment? Sometimes it helps to talk and they too will also be grieving. We had a pact that if someone was feeling unspecified bad then they would ring one of the others who would probably not be having a bad moment at exactly the same time.
Hope this helps. You will get through as you gradually learn to cope but it is not easy. Love at Christmas. You take care.

Hetty58 Fri 20-Dec-19 10:51:14

23 years on from losing my husband, Christmas is still something I'm so glad to get over with. I think it's the great effort of 'enforced happiness', the slapping a smile on my face for the kids and grandkids. I feel like a complete fraud!

Dianic Fri 20-Dec-19 10:59:33

I lost my hubby of over 30 years at the end of October. It was so harsh - he'd been given the all-clear after successful recovery from lung cancer surgery. Then in September it came back but in his bones, so painful. He was so brave and used to daily pain but this was so savage and it crushed him.

As some of you have said, I keep busy as that helps. I'm currently selling off things and packing the house down slowly as I can't afford to stay here: I need affordable housing and a job too. I was his carer for over 20 years and only worked part time until I had a heart attack last year. But I'm fit enough to go back to work (WASPI woman, so no retirement for me for another 5 years!)...

It's all quite daunting, but I'm trying to do things differently so I don't miss him quite so much. Having said that, tears are streaming down my face as I type, so...

As far as crying goes, kindness and having to tell people all over again are my undoing, so I have tissues with me all the time.

My DD is suffering a lot as he was her hero. She has a very bright 3 year old who's missing his Pop-Pops and knows he's gone but not exactly where. It's all a bit overwhelming but hopefully we shall all get through Christmas intact.

Sorry for waffling on but there's some weird comfort in sharing with other GNers in a similar situation.

BeenBizzy Fri 20-Dec-19 11:13:24

I lost my precious love towards the end of last year as a result of a road accident.
We had been together for 51 years. That first Christmas I had to stay on my own with my thoughts and
memories. I had several offers from friends to stay with them for the holidays but just couldn't.... My son and two grand children (both adults) came on Boxing day. The D-i-L never comes near but that's a other story.
This year I feel I have to get away. I don't want to be on my own, so am trying a singles holiday
over five days. I will be mainly with other ladies in a similar situation to myself....... Who like me
need companions over the festive period.
My son and grandchildren will be here the day after I get back and
if it all goes well I will do this for the next few years.

Tish Fri 20-Dec-19 11:30:57

The “firsts” after a bereavement are, I think, the worst.... you sound very positive but pragmatic... tears are inevitable... no need to hide them.... keeping yourself busy is great, you should try, if your able, to get out and about everyday for a walk. I wish you well, the pain of bereavement doesn’t necessarily go away but becomes more bearable over time.x

barbaralynne Fri 20-Dec-19 11:32:11

I hesitate to suggest this as my bereavement was losing my mother when only 3, but, have learnt about the really beneficial effects of being creative with knitting, crochet and sewing. There is a limit to how much one can make for oneself or family but I and a group that I run, make blankets and quilts for the homeless, for children in hospital, in Foster care etc and this really takes one's mind off of our sadness I find.
Do hope others find some benefits too, and love and best wishes to all recently bereaved at this difficult time.

Luckygirl Fri 20-Dec-19 11:40:42

Christmas is an emotional time - do not feel you have failed if you cry at the band playing carols - I do too and do not have your good reason to. Go with that flow - see it as a tribute to your OH.

I know that targets are tempting in one way; but they become tyrants if they are allowed to rule the natural flow of your grieving.

A hard time for you (and others on here) just now; and I can only send love and good wishes. You will come through this season - probably with a few tears along the way - but you will do it; and there will be many on here who will be walking beside you.