Damn the holidays. Heading into my third holiday season as a widow, I’m still struggling to enjoy the traditions of Christmas and the celebration of a new year.
To add to my Yuletide anxiety this year are the memories of last year at this time when I was buzzing around trying to embrace the joys of the season. I keep remembering how I thought I was doing better than the previous year, thinking life was going to keep getting better — the worst was over. I was moving forward.
Boy was I clueless. Awaiting me around the corner was serious heart surgery, endless pain and a three-month disability from work. Several months later and I still have trouble grasping what I went through. Sometimes I stare at the gash on my chest and the red-purple incision scars that remain on my left leg and wonder how I survived all that and what the hell is next?
We are so vulnerable to catastrophe and often so unknowing. I feel broken by what happened to me — a lot of my bravado gone. Some days I carry around a sense of doom I never had before. I hesitate to make changes and am scheduling less travel. This is all so unlike me.
So I’m working on my attitude trying to be more positive about life in general. I’m shopping for gifts, slowing putting up decorations, gladly anticipating my daughter home from college for a month, glad I’m invited to a few holiday bashes, and trying not to dwell on the holidays past that seem so idyllic now.
Reading old journals, I see that life wasn’t perfect when I was married and often hectic and stressful. Sometimes Tom and I fought and disagreed about how the holidays should be spent. I didn’t have the freedom I have now to do what I want whenever I want. I need to stop romanticizing my old life and embrace my new one. Here’s to good health and happiness in the new year.