First Christmas After Loved One Died

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  1. misterhollywood profile image87
    misterhollywoodposted 9 years ago

    I know that Christmas is supposed to be a happy time but if you are someone who lost a loved one over the past year, I thought this article might help you. This was written by one of our hubbers, Aerospace fan and it moved me to tears. I hope this helps anyone right now in pain. Hope it is OK to post this.

    5 Loving Ways to Remember Someone You Have Lost This Christmas


    1. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
      Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you, misterhollywood. That is a very helpful article. I especially like the "memory chain" idea - what a wonderful thing to do. I will start one for my lovely sister-in-law whom I miss so very much.

      Merry Christmas to you, misterhollywood.

      1. misterhollywood profile image87
        misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I thought that memory chain idea was so meaningful. Really. I lost someone close to me before Christmas once and it was really difficult. Sorry to hear about your sister in law. sad

    2. LisaMarieGabriel profile image85
      LisaMarieGabrielposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for that thoughtful post. I lost my mum in September and Christmas just isn't working for me this year! My thoughts and prayers are with anyone else who has lost someone dear to them.

    3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      For those who are hurting due to the loss of a loved one, I just posted my ebook on Amazon which deals with what I went through when I lost my husband in my early 40's and how I recovered.  Can't post it here, but if you check out Sondra Rochelle on Google + you'll find the link. Conversely you can email me, and I'll send you the direct link.  It is tough to read but is uplifting later in the book.

      Even though this happened to me many years ago, I can still clearly remember how painful my holidays were, but I did find things to do that helped me to deal with them.  I feel for all of you and promise that this will get better with each passing day.  Keep the faith.

    4. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      John, this is an inspired conversation you have started.... thank  you.   Such deep perception, obviously valued by a lot of respondents. 

      Christmas time and the New Year have not been joyful times for me, for several years.  Even in my youth, Christmas was a time of bickering amongst various members of the family and I would get out of there as soon after Christmas Day as reasonably possible. 

      More recently it has become sad, more lonely as the years have passed, and I feel relieved when the "silly season" is over.  My mother died 2 days before Christmas in 2000, after having been knocked off her bicycle a week before (a good rider even at 86!).  That was not at all pleasant, us surviving 3 of the family sitting at the pathetic table, eating the foods she had lovingly prepared, like every other Christmas.

      A young friend took his own life on 5th January (10 years ago as I write), and my sister died suddenly on 6th December 2013, and we again had a non-event celebration make-do in her kitchen amongst her cats, in her absence. you can see why this time of year does not "hit it" with me.

      I have no belief in the "after-life," do not accept there is anything of us that remains individually conscious after the passing of this Life.   I am not saddened in any way by this lack of belief, and it does not worry me like some "believers" might think it does.  To celebrate the passing of a life is matter-of-fact, observance and respect for that person's life and for having known him/her.  To dwell for any length of time on that passing, I feel, is a DIS-respect for that life.  The remainder of my life is still to be lived to the full, as best I can, with the resources I am blessed with. 

      So this letter is not a feeling sorry for myself, merely a sharing so that others in mourning can know I do care about your feelings, and how you survive/stand tall again/recover your energy and commitment. 

      You are not alone.

    5. Mark Johann profile image60
      Mark Johannposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It happened also along our neighborhood that before Christmas, a member of the family died. I can't imagine the pain within.

      Let us hope that our Creator made these things for He has greater plans for us. Find it later and find it deep inside your heart but feel the pain in that moment.

  2. Billie Kelpin profile image85
    Billie Kelpinposted 9 years ago

    Thank you for starting this thread.  I hope someone will answer this question for me.  Is it too soon to send old pictures of someone who recently passed away in October to her grieving husband?  We all were friends during our college years.  Georgianne was one of my best friends and she married the best friend of my former husband.  We were all very close, and I have some beautiful pictures of Georgie through the years that her husband might not have.  I'm just wonderfing if it's way too soon to send them.  To everyone who is grieving for someone lost during the holiday season, may your grief be soften by the sweetness of the memories.

    1. ChristinS profile image39
      ChristinSposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It's such a beautiful sentiment, but yes it's very soon.  I would maybe save the idea for next Christmas - you could maybe even scan the images and put them on a digital frame for her so she can turn it off and on whenever she wants to look at them?  I did that for my mom and dad the year after his dad passed and they loved it, if I would have done it the same year I think it would have been maybe a bit too much.

      1. Billie Kelpin profile image85
        Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Christin, Ah, thank you so much.  My intuition told me not to send the pictures to Georgie's husband, but my neighbor whose husband passed away a few years ago said, "Oh he'll love that."  I didn't send them and was considering gathering them and quickly getting them in the mail before Christmas.  I think you're right, however.  I'm just going to get a special card and wait until next year or the next time we see him.  My friend Georgie was EXCEPTIONAL and I loved her. 
        Thank you again for your always insightful input Christin. I feel as if I know you smile  Have a lovely holiday.  Cheers, Billie

    2. rebekahELLE profile image86
      rebekahELLEposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I think it's perfectly fine to send the photos with a beautiful hand written message along with a card.  Having lost my husband at an early age, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the messages that meant the most to me shared loving memories/photos of him.  I know everyone is different in how they express and process loss of a loved one, but for me knowing that his life had meant so much to others helped me through the grieving process.  It may do the same for your friend.  Either way, a card with a hand written message from the heart will be appreciated.

    3. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It might be too soon but what a thoughtful thing. Maybe give it a little more time?

    4. word55 profile image72
      word55posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      To help answer your question, Yes! you should send the picture. Tis the perfect time to send it too. It should make him feel better to know that there was another photo facet of her that he could admire seeing. Also, people should use what God is here for. The love of God is to cover the love you have for the loss of a loved one. To love God with all our minds, hearts and souls garners His love in return for us to bear the loss and regard the loss as if they (loved ones) are somewhere around. I love showing pics of loved ones that I've lost. It just makes me feel so good about the loved one and myself. It also should show the person whom you want to give the picture to-that you are giving it because you would love for them to see a cherishing picture that they never knew of. He should appreciate you better and it should make it easier for you to express your feelings about her much better. Let us know how it turned out. It's all good :-)

    5. Marisa Wright profile image86
      Marisa Wrightposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think it's too soon. It's strange, when someone dies, everyone thinks they need to avoid talking about him/her to the surviving relatives.   Yes, you might find yourself faced with someone in floods of tears, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The widow or parent or child needs to talk about their lost loved one and remember their precious memories, so it doesn't make sense for friends to act as if they never existed.

      1. Mark Johann profile image60
        Mark Johannposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Marisa, it is indeed strange if someone dies. You can feel this loneliness inside. Our Creator obviously brain-wire our brains inside that man cannot die before Adam and Eve committed the sin.

        Therefore as Christians, heaven is real. Body dies but soul lives in the next real life with our Creator. It is hard for simple person to believe but explain the strange feeling if someone dies. Any thought about this?

    6. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Speaking as someone who was widowed years ago, I say it is never too early to share memorabilia with the remaining spouse because each time you do, you give him or her back a piece of the person they lost.

      1. 2besure profile image77
        2besureposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I can't help but think about the two police officer who were killed in New York, a week before Christmas.  I will be a very long time before they can enjoy Christmas without the pain of their loss.   Christmas has never been the same since my Mom and Dad passed. Thanks for the link.  I am sure it will help someone.

    7. moonlake profile image82
      moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Billie Kelpin, You ask about sending pictures to a friend's husband soon after she passed away. My friend sent me a photo of my husband and our son yesterday. The photo was taken 49 years ago I was thrilled to get it. I didn't have this photo, so for me it made me happy.

      1. Billie Kelpin profile image85
        Billie Kelpinposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Moonlake, Thank you for posting this picture.  It's simply lovely - an iconic image of a new father's pride and love. 
        I did end up sending jpgs of our old pictures to Georgiann's son who was arranging the Memorial Service that took place just last week. (We weren't able to make it to Oregon to attend). The son said it was wonderful to see his mom in a different place in time than he was used to. I think he probably printed out the pictures for the memorial.   I'm going to send the all the photos I have of Georgie to her husband after I gather them all.   
        The picture of your young husband is a treasure that I'm sure has made everyone who has seen it here smile in remembrance of that time in their own lives. Thank you for sharing your treasure.  Warm wishes, Billie

  3. word55 profile image72
    word55posted 9 years ago

    Great article you shared mr. hollywood. I think, not to speak the loved one's name makes life difficult. I lost my mom in 2003. I speak and refer to her spirit quite often. I even joke and say, " mom I know you wouldn't want me to do this or mom would be so happy to know that all 5 of us brothers are hanging together, today." The loved one would want you to be happy and to share his or her name.

    1. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I agree Word. I know for me I was afraid to say the person's name because I didn't want to upset anyone. Sorry to hear about your mom and losing her in 2003. We always remember them don't we.

      1. Jean Bakula profile image94
        Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Hi misterhollywood,
        How timely for me, as I'm facing my first Christmas without my husband/boyfriend of 39 yrs. It's brutal. My son and I are going to the Caribbean to escape the season entirely, because our loss was last January, and people seem to think we should be "fine" now. The only thing, it's my first vacation without him too. I'm not a clinging vine, but I loved him so much, and the pain is awful yet.

        Our son and I both go out, we are used to the new normal. I've made new friends, read tarot on Saturdays, and teach a class of my own too. I belong to a meditation group. But these activities are still hard without coming home to share my thoughts and impressions of everything. And although meeting new people is great, they can't share your memories of the past, so that's a whole part of you they don't know. They just know me as a widow and know nothing of what my prior life or husband were like, and everything has changed.

        I would wait more than a year for the pictures. I left up our family ones only because our son insisted, but they rip my heart out right now. Since we both live here, I have to be mindful of his grief too. People in my meditation group have trouble not only with holidays, but random things upset them for years. Especially if the relationship was a strong and long one. Try to gage your friend's emotional state, but don't be fooled, it probably changes a lot.

        You need a balance of going out and staying home to reflect how you are.

        Enjoy your holiday season, and thanks for being so thoughtful.

        1. misterhollywood profile image87
          misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Jean, this is no doubt a very difficult time of year. The story you shared here is super touching. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a first Christmas without a spouse/significant other.

          Thanks for sharing here!

        2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Those things you refer to are called "triggers"...and yes, they can be painful reminders of what you had and what you lost.  Each person deals differently with the loss of a loved one, but in most cases, removing triggers from sight, sound or smell ... a little bit at a time...can really help you get back to normal.

          I lost my former husband when I was 43 and he was was sudden and shocking...and I had only a very small support system to help see me through.  You need to remember that your husband would want you to move on with your life and be happy.  He is at peace now, and it is time for you ... at some move on.

          Those who have never suffered a loss like this do not understand that recovery takes time...more for some, less for others.  Just know that you will recover, but you must open your heart to be able to do so.  If you close it only to him, nobody else will ever be able to enter...and life will be sad and lonely for you, indeed.

          Have a good vacation and come out punching when you get home.

          1. Jean Bakula profile image94
            Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Thanks TIMETRAVELER2,
            I was able to redo our bedroom to make it "mine" a few weeks later, and did have to remove some of his things. I love talking about all the experiences we shared, and I laugh a lot about him, because he was a fun person, and I have a whimsical side. Pictures of him are hard though. I realize how lucky I was to have somebody who loved me so much for so long. But seeing old pictures reminds me I'll never have any experiences with him again. I'm somewhat clairvoyant, so I can feel his presence at times, and I have been open to a lot of new things. I'm still here, but everything changed. His company where he worked closed, so my health insurance changed three times, and my doctors, and so there was almost nothing constant in my life this year. It's been exhausting. Thankfully our house was paid off and I am able to stay in it. I've always loved it here. I don't have any other relatives near me, only distant ones, mile wise and emotionally wise, so it's really been just my son and I. That made it hard too, we have to keep encouraging each other, but we are doing that pretty well.

            I find most people don't know what  to say, and ignore it or say the wrong things. I understand it's hard for them to know what to do. But I've been surprised that I haven't been invited out much, women I thought were my friends have sort of deserted me. He was 58, and many of my friends have older husbands, so I think my situation is a reminder it can happen to them, and they don't want to face that. I have tried to be open, and maybe would like to go out with someone eventually, but four decades with one person is a long time, and I don't know how that will shake out.

            My son and I exchanged gifts for Christmas today on the Winter Solstice, since we'll be away for Christmas. I guess because we have no other family it's made it hard too, my support group has sprung up only because I go out and am meeting new people. But sometimes I need alone time to remember the good times with him too. His loss was also sudden and shocking, he collapsed at our chiropractor appointment. It took me some time to walk through that lobby again, and the whole office was affected.

            But I did live almost a year without him, so I know I can. I just miss him, and have health problems, so it gets scary at times. It appears at 59 that I have outlived all my old friends. And the ones who remain are keeping a distance.

            It sounds awful to lose a loved one on a holiday. I sympathize with everyone who wrote about that. I know you have to change your traditions. When other family members died we always put a special ornament on our Christmas tree for them, and as the years go on, that helps us remember the good times. Nobody should feel guilty about laughing as we remember funny things our loved ones did, or quirks that made them unique. We were blessed to have them in our lives. I still "talk" to my parents and to my husband too, because they will always be part of me.

    2. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
      Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with that, Word. I often talk to or about my departed loved ones. To say their name is a good feeling and helps me in many ways.

  4. FatFreddysCat profile image93
    FatFreddysCatposted 9 years ago

    Unfortunately I can relate to this topic, as my father passed away on Christmas Eve 1999 after a brutal (but thankfully brief) battle with leukemia. Needless to say, Christmas was a little weird and for our family for a number of years. Christmas was my Dad's favorite holiday and I think we actually felt a little guilty about enjoying ourselves too much without him.

    That was fifteen years ago. Now that I'm the Dad I get to enjoy Christmas again through my children ... and on Christmas Eve my brother and I always find time to have a drink in honor of "the old man."

    1. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      To have someone pass on Christmas eve - wow. Sorry for your loss. I know it has been several years since 1999 but the pain is always there for sure. I like how you remember your dad!

  5. EngineerNelson profile image60
    EngineerNelsonposted 9 years ago

    I think its so sad to lose someone around the holidays. I hear stories on TV of parents losing their son days before Christmas. I know a family that lost their entire family because a family member was ill mentally and killed the family at the dinner table. One of the kids got away. Death don't have no time limit or day. It just happens. Holidays are suppose to be fun and exciting seeing family members. When a love one dies, its tragic. Its so sad and you blame God for it. As Christians, we have to keep our head up. We need to be there for our friends who lost a love one. I lost my step mom the day after Christmas. She told us that she thought she was going to die on Christmas. We didn't take her seriously but then the next day she died.

    1. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Very moving personal story - truly!

  6. izettl profile image89
    izettlposted 9 years ago

    Great article! Very important topic for this time of year.

  7. moonlake profile image82
    moonlakeposted 9 years ago

    I was going to wait until after Christmas to put this on Hubpages but when I saw your forum post I decided to put it on tonight. My husband passed away on Tuesday after a long struggle with cancer. Christmas is hard for all my family this year. I feel very alone even with the kids near by. I have never been really alone a day in my whole life. I already miss him so much. I know I’m strong and will make it, as you can tell I’m having trouble sleeping tonight.
    Billie Kelpin about the photos I would send them. I think her husband would be very happy to get them.

    1. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
      Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Moonlake, there is no need to hide your sorrow and feelings of loneliness - you have friends here who care and will stretch out hands to you to do what we can to comfort.  Many blessings to you, your children and the entire family. Prayers are on the way to you. Hold up, keep your faith and health strong, cry and talk, ask for moral support when you must. Hugs

      1. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
        Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I believe misterhollywood was directed from Above to start this thread for those who need comfort and support as he did when he lost a loved one around the holidays and we know he understands the pain. My deepest empathy and understanding is with you, Moonlake.

      2. moonlake profile image82
        moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you

    2. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Moonlake I am SO sorry to hear of your loss. Truly. I cannot imagine what it would be like to experience this kind of loss, particularly around the holidays. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

      1. moonlake profile image82
        moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you

    3. aesta1 profile image93
      aesta1posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      We are with you in our prayers. I know how difficult it is especially at Christmas.

      1. moonlake profile image82
        moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you

    4. PegCole17 profile image94
      PegCole17posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Dearest Moonlake, my heart goes out to you. You've been so supportive and kind to me in the past and in sharing about the difficulties you were facing with his health issues. I hope it helps you in some way when facing this incredible loss, to know that you have friends who care about you and wish you well. Again, so sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences to you. That is tragic news and I can not even imagine having to face this. May you have strength in your faith and in the family who loves you, blood relatives and friends you have made here. All the best, Peg.

      1. moonlake profile image82
        moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you

  8. LongTimeMother profile image91
    LongTimeMotherposted 9 years ago

    @ Jean, I will be thinking of you and your son this Christmas. I often wonder how you are coping and apologise for not asking earlier. I think your trip sounds like a great idea.

  9. LongTimeMother profile image91
    LongTimeMotherposted 9 years ago

    @ moonlake. Oh, I'm so sorry.  If I lived closer I would come around and help you on your little farm. I had noticed you've not been active on HP lately and I was hoping your eyesight hadn't deteriorated further. I had no idea your husband was so unwell. What a tragedy. Please keep in touch with us when you have the time and energy. Thinking of you.

    1. moonlake profile image82
      moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you

  10. aesta1 profile image93
    aesta1posted 9 years ago

    When my mother died, our relatives sent us pictures of her and we enjoyed them so much. I think your friend's husband would treasure those.

    1. Jean Bakula profile image94
      Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I'm so sorry this happened, and this close to the holidays makes it even worse. I know it feels lonely and like you'll never get through it, but you will. Just do what your heart tells you, and don't listen to people too much. Society expects us to be acting normal and picking up our activities in days after a tragic loss in these times, which is absurd.

      Be gentle with yourself, and take advantage of any help you can get. When my husband died, the HP family was great to me. I forget who it was, but someone emailed me a picture of a person riding a horse on a beach, and it said, "Say that my morn has just begun, I face the dawn, and not a setting sun." I kept that by my phone and then in my room for months. You don't want to live without him, but I bet you can still feel him close. I don't know your beliefs, I believe in reincarnation, so that makes it easier for me in some ways.

      Try to rest, even though you have a lot to do. I will be thinking and praying for you. When a time passes, try to seek out a group to talk with, or a therapist. In the early months, mine told me to make a list of little things to do all day (I don't work outside the home due to health issues). It can be small stuff, pay bills, take a nap, read for a while, make a phone call to whomever. Just so you feel like your day has a rhythm, because so much has changed. Please feel free to email me anytime. Blessings.

      1. misterhollywood profile image87
        misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I really like this practical advice Jean! You should write a hub on this (really). The part you shared about being gentle with ourselves is so important.

      2. moonlake profile image82
        moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you

  11. MelRootsNWrites profile image91
    MelRootsNWritesposted 9 years ago

    Thanks for posting this thread.  That first everything can be brutal after the loss of a loved one.  My Dad died in May of 2010.  We weathered everything but that first Christmas without him was very hard.  He loved Christmas and his fingerprints were all over our celebrations.  We went through the motions that year, then we learned to make our traditions anew, and found our way.  Now we can enjoy our celebrations and we have a great time joking of some of my Dad's quirks (he picked the worst, scrappiest Christmas trees, for instance).

    Moonlake, I am so sorry for your loss!

    1. moonlake profile image82
      moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you I hope I have thanked everyone and not left anyone out. It's been almost three weeks now since my husband passed. The hardest thing I do is running into town and running into people who offer their sympathy, by the time I get home I'm one big crying mess. I try my best not to go in.

      1. Jean Bakula profile image94
        Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Hello moonlake,
        It is hard to go out, especially when you run into people who don't know what happened, and you must tell them. You could always duck down another aisle. I still think it's better to get out of the house if you feel up to it. Try to go out at a time when stores are less crowded. Or is there anyone else in the family who can go sometimes?

        I got away with my son for Christmas, only to be hit like a hammer than I had never been on a vacation without my husband, then BF, for 39 yrs. Or passed a New Year without him in all that time. Since he passed 1/16, I feel like that date has to pass before my New Year starts, although I'm making appts. and doing what I have to do. It was nice to get away, and good to get home. But we really missed his energy there.

        You'll do little things and forget for a little while when it calms down. Take it one step at a time. If you feel too tired, or like you can't face going somewhere, don't go. You honor him when you think of him, and you need to honor yourself too, you've been through a big shock. I am sending you positive light. This thread has been so helpful.

      2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        When you have lost a spouse you loved very much, three weeks is like 30 years.  Those who have never experienced a loss like this do not understand this, so you must learn to deal with your daily life in terms of your current situation and not in terms of what others expect from you.

        My husband also died from cancer, but thankfully, his death was quite sudden.  If you have been through a lengthy battle, you are exhausted now.  This is the time for you to rest and lean on those who love you for awhile.

        Just remember that as your husband's life had value, so does yours.  This is why you must, as you are able, start looking ahead and not back.  This is not easy to do, but it is what will save you.

  12. misterhollywood profile image87
    misterhollywoodposted 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing Melroots. I lost someone close in 2010 too. Sorry for your loss of your dad.

    It seems like just yesterday when I think back on people I have lost. The pain never really goes away. It dulls sometimes but it's always there.

    1. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
      Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Someone once told me that when a loved one is lost, the love never dies, it just eventually goes to a quieter place. For those times when the pain comes back, remember you have friends and support here, misterhollywood.

      I think that you opened this thread at a time when so many of us needed it. It is really helping a lot. Thank you for doing this.

  13. Chelsea Dyan profile image61
    Chelsea Dyanposted 9 years ago

    This is the first Christmas that we did not put up a Christmas tree. My mother did not feel like doing so since we lost her father (my grandfather) this June... I will always remember my grandpa whom I deliver food to every Christmas day..
    Thanks for sharing this article

    1. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi, Chelsea,

      It sounds like a painful time:( I'm sorry about your grandfather. I'm glad this article was meaningful to you. What's interesting to me is how many of us are working through loss this holiday.

  14. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
    Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years ago

    I have a request for those who can help. Patricia Scott's ( pstraubie48 )  daughter Stephanie is fighting her biggest battle against cancer. Please send prayers and positive energy to them as they go through this trying time. Thank you.

    1. Jean Bakula profile image94
      Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Phyllis,
      I just sent some healing light and will remember Stephanie in my prayers. You may want to start a bigger topic thread, the HP family is very kind at hard times. It's one of the site's biggest strengths, as shown by your thoughtfulness.

  15. Phyllis Doyle profile image92
    Phyllis Doyleposted 9 years ago

    For all of you who have lost loved ones and feel the hurt, pain, loneliness and sorrow, I pray for healing energy for you and your families. No matter how long ago or how recent you lost someone the memories at this time of year can be so painful.

    A support group like this is a wonderful thing and it is good to see so many of you able to share your loss and open your hearts to others who have also lost loved ones.

    Merry Christmas and many blessings to all of you.

    1. PegCole17 profile image94
      PegCole17posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well said, Phyllis. Blessings to you and yours as well. Our family suffered a loss at Thanksgiving and his sisters are posting sweet and adorable pictures of young nephew on Facebook in memory of him. I believe it all depends on the person's state of mind as to the sharing of photos and how soon they can look at them with joy rather than sorrow.
      Thank you Mister Hollywood for opening this forum to discussion.
      To you, Jean, my deepest sympathy in your time of need and through this life changing loss of your life long partner.

  16. LongTimeMother profile image91
    LongTimeMotherposted 9 years ago

    I am also thinking of Connie Smith and remembering little Lexi. Lexi's birthday was in December too so this month must be very tough for Connie's family.

    1. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I can imagine!

  17. snakeslane profile image81
    snakeslaneposted 9 years ago

    Christmas is a family time. When your family is gone, lost, or scattered it is not the same, there is a void, an emptiness that cannot be filled. I feel sympathy for you moonlake, Jean Bakula, and others here feeling the loss.

    1. moonlake profile image82
      moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you

  18. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 9 years ago

    Wow. How this article really hits home. I lost my best friend 2 days after Thanksgiving to a hit and run driver. My brother and I saw it all. One moment he was so vibrant and alive. In the matter of seconds he was gone forever. I was 15. Thanksgiving was dreaded for so many years.

    Then I lost my brother a week before Christmas in 2007 to a massive heart attack. The part in the article that really struck me was using their names. I have not wanted to, or even talk about his passing till this day. Holidays have not been like they should have been for years. Saying all of this I want to celebrate the life we had together. But, I just cannot get past the pain. Since we were very young we always had one another. Then in seconds he is gone. From talking to me, to flat lining. I am so sorry for all here who have lost loved ones during this time of year. It really does not make for a very Merry Christmas at all.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      JThomp42  WOW!  You sure got a double whammy, and I am so sorry to hear this.  When I lost my husband, which happened just before Thanksgiving, one thing that helped me was to avoid all of the traditions.  I found other ways to spend those days and made up my mind that they were just that...other days.  It helped me tremendously.

      Clearly when a loved one passes on, life is never the same again.  There is a big hole left in your heart, and all you can do is try to fill it with pleasant things.  I know and you know that your loved ones would not want you to spend your life grieving.  If for no other reason, for them and do the things they can no longer do so that they can live through you.  This is the best gift you can give them and yourself as well.

      God Bless.

      1. profile image0
        JThomp42posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you so much TIMETRAVELER2. May God bless you always!

        1. Jean Bakula profile image94
          Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Hello JThomp42,
          I'm so sorry for your sorrows. The holidays are never the same without the people we love the most. Many will say you need to make new traditions, and you will and probably have. But as we get older, we keep losing people, and how many times can we change our traditions?

          It does help to talk about the people you still love, even if they are no longer here. Christmas/New Year's is awful, and this first year without my husband, I ignored it completely and went out of the country with my son. It seemed we had to go that far to get away from hearing Christmas music in October! Bless you. And remember they would want you to carry on and be happy, even though that is really hard to do. This thread has been very therapeutic for a lot of us. Maybe we should all "get together" in a chat room of some sort.

  19. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 9 years ago

    Hello Jean,
        Thank you so much. I think you have hit the nail on the head concerning holidays as we get older. It comes to the point where so many are gone that one has to wonder to even bother. I have learned after several years of not speaking about my feelings have taken their toll.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Dear Friends:  Probably few people on this site are older than I am, so I am well aware of the fact that as we get older, we lose people and things change.  To survive those losses, we must adapt.  If we don't, we cannot find happiness.

      For many of you on this thread, the losses are fairly new.  Since I am now an old lady, my losses mostly happened many years ago.  This gives me the opportunity to look back and see whether what I did to survive worked for me.  It did.

      I think the biggest lesson for all of you is to learn how to move on.  Change traditions as many times as you like.  Make new ones.  Do without having any.  Whatever works for you.  There is no one rule that suits everybody, that's for sure. 

      Just remember that you have only one life to live; the one you now have.  It is what it is.  You can either make something positive of it, or you can choose to live in the life that was and never move forward.  Just bear in mind this famous philosophical quote, and it may help you:  "Death whispered in my ear:  Live.  For I am coming".

      The person you loved and lost would want you to live and move on, just as you would want that for them.  So, live.

  20. Kathleen Cochran profile image79
    Kathleen Cochranposted 9 years ago

    I got my last hug from my Mom on New Year's Day 2013.  I lost her two weeks later.  I expected this Christmas to be easier than the first one - last year.  I think I expected too much.  Christmas will always include memories of that last one, the one we didn't know would be the last one. 

    There have been family complications since her death that have made "difficult" "more difficult", but I could remember Mom recently and smile instead of cry.  Not every time, but at least some of the time.

    As Diana Gabaldon wrote: "When I look in a mirror, my mother's eyes look back at me . . . By blood and by choice, we make our ghosts; we haunt ourselves . . .  But a breeze passing in a still room stirs my hair now and then in soft affection . . .  I think it is my mother."

    1. misterhollywood profile image87
      misterhollywoodposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for sharing this Kathleen. Very touching and meaningful - I can tell you loved your mom a lot and that you miss her a great deal.

  21. Kathleen Cochran profile image79
    Kathleen Cochranposted 9 years ago

    It was a pleasure to have someone to say these things to this holiday.  Most folks in my life assume, by now, I've moved on, so I've kept my feelings to myself.  I'm not really very good at doing that.

  22. snakeslane profile image81
    snakeslaneposted 9 years ago

    moonlake, what a sweet photo. I can see why you would be happy to get it.

  23. LongTimeMother profile image91
    LongTimeMotherposted 9 years ago

    moonlake, that photo is great! Must be nice for your son to see himself looking so happy, in the arms of his proud and doting dad. smile

  24. LongTimeMother profile image91
    LongTimeMotherposted 9 years ago

    JThomp42, I was really puzzled by what you wrote in one of your hubs and I commented on it ... but I'm seeing in this forum thread that you have carried a lot of pain that hasn't been healed. The sudden deaths of your best friend and then your brother has clearly taken a toll. Maybe in more ways than you realize.

    Out of respect for them ... and you ... I would like to know their names. Perhaps if you mention them, and tell us just a little about them, it may bring you some peace.

    I believe we should acknowledge those who have passed ... as much (or as little) as their impact on our lives deserves. I'll fully understand if you choose not to. But I for one really am interested in hearing about them. smile

    1. Kathleen Cochran profile image79
      Kathleen Cochranposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Good advice.  I learned so much about my Mom after she died by the comments people who knew her shared with me.  In many ways, I know her better now than I ever did.  Even strangers can sometimes see things we can't.  It can be very comforting.

  25. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 9 years ago

    LongTimeMother..... I apologize for the article that I wrote that you commented on. It was way out of line and has been deleted. My best friends name is Greg Epperson and my older brother's name is David Thompson II. You can read about them in my series of articles called "My life." I am very sorry again for that article. That is not me. I just let my emotions get away with me after some very hateful remarks. May God bless you always!

    1. LongTimeMother profile image91
      LongTimeMotherposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hello, JT. Having seen you on the forums, that hub did seem out of character. I was in two minds about drawing it to your attention ... so thank you for accepting my feedback in the spirit in which it was offered.

      And thanks for introducing me to Greg and David. You greatly impressed me with the way you wrote your 'My Life' stories. Wow, that was an emotional roller-coaster ride and you narrated the stories with extraordinary poise and restraint.

      Greg and David clearly had significant roles in your tumultuous life. How fortunate you had them beside you to help you endure your childhood. Such a shame you were denied the chance to grow old together.

      I have never understood why some people's lives are like treading through emotional minefields - and yet others have simple, uneventful lives. Having read your stories, I fully understand why you get angry and frustrated by people who haven't walked in your shoes. Your perspective and theirs are vastly different. 

      Don't beat yourself up about that other hub. It is gone now. You're allowed to have days when you express frustration. (Not necessarily a good idea to present them in isolation for the world to see forever, though.)

      It would be interesting to view your entire range of emotions in a book that joins all the dots of your life together, if ever you choose to write one. As part of the bigger picture, it would all make perfect sense.

      Take care of yourself, JT. I am hoping your future is filled with peace, love and healing. You deserve it.

      PS. I didn't comment on those 5 hubs ... but I did read and respect every word.

      1. Mark Johann profile image60
        Mark Johannposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        That's nice of you LongtimeMother. The emotion you felt is precious towards a friend. The dots of our life need to be reconnected to know the answer of every problem.

      2. profile image0
        JThomp42posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        LongTimeMother...... Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. They mean more to me than you will ever know. Many blessings!

  26. snakeslane profile image81
    snakeslaneposted 9 years ago

    Just to add to the conversation re: grief. Here is Joan Didion's take on it from her book 'The Year of Magical Thinking' regarding the loss of her spouse:
    "Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself."

    1. Jean Bakula profile image94
      Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      So true. You are still in shock at the funeral, and everyone is there. They haven't all deserted you yet. It's the little things that mess you up, hearing a song you both loved, or like the first time the person doesn't come home from work, or the meals you no longer bother to cook, that get to you. Sleeping alone after years of sleeping with someone, and having any sex life you had suddenly ripped away. You go on to do things, but can't share the fun or humor of explaining it to your loved one, or it feels less meaningful that you can't talk to them about what you do. And "fun" is loose, I've experienced "pleasant" or "contentment" but no fun so far. It's the year anniversary of when he passed, and it's hit me like a sledgehammer. First it was mind and spirit, now both our son and I am physically sick, he in the stomach, I with a chest cold. There's so much responsibility. I was no clinging vine, but his extra set of hands are sure missed now. My mind is always racing and I'm exhausted at all levels. I'm slowing down, resting and meditating more.

      We left the country for Christmas, knowing that would be hard. But we forgot we had never been on vacation without him either, or at least our son never did, and I hadn't since I was 19. We realized that New Year couldn't begin for us until we got past the date he passed, but we haven't recovered yet. I do realize that I'm "lucky" we had a great husband and father for years, and he left us in pretty good financial shape. People are nasty about reminding me of that. He worked his ass off and went to work no matter how sick he was. Then I inherited the money, without my beloved to spend it and enjoy any retirement. Then idiots tell our son, "Open a 401 (K) so you will have money when you are 59. He replies, "So I can drop dead like my Father, work myself so hard, and never live to see the money? Sounds great." Dripping with sarcasm. I know people mean well, and maybe nobody ever loved them, but they don't have to take it out on us. We are in serious pain. Being both the oldest of our families, we always took care of everyone, and made many sacrifices to be able to do that. I feel like karma is letting me down here.

      I still get up, dressed and put makeup on. Then I wonder why. Who am I trying to look nice for? I guess for my own self esteem. It's hard to rebuild your life after spending 39 years with one person. I don't know if I ever will date again, or if that part of my life is over. I've done a lot this year. I've taken classes, I read Tarot out of a business, I teach a Tarot class. I meditate and have joined a group.  I read a lot and I'm a writer. But my social life is all with people I never met before he died. They only know me as this widow who is testing out who she is after being half of a couple for 39 years. And I'm still not sure who she is either.

      Everything happens for a reason, and maybe I am here yet because I have something great left to do. I just don't know what it is yet. I hope I figure it out. "The rest of my life" sounds very daunting to me right now. I do want to do some kind of volunteer work, but have a lot of health issues and two minor surgeries I need to take care of before I can commit to anything. So I feel like life is hanging in the balance. I know it could be worse, people lose spouses all the time. But they didn't always love them yet, and this was my first and only marriage. Women married for the 3rd or 4th time can't figure out why I'm not dating yet.

      1. moonlake profile image82
        moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        You said it so well. I agree with all you said. It's just the beginning for me. Everything I do now is new to me.

        1. Jean Bakula profile image94
          Jean Bakulaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Hi moonlake,
          You are doing well, it's been such a short time for you. It sounds like you are going out to do what has to be done, and in the beginning, that's a lot. I remember even feeling better when I was driving the first time I went food shopping after my husband died, it was something else to think about.

          Try to rest if you can, you may find it hard to sleep. If some things are just too hard to look at, put them away. By the second month, my son and friend repainted our bedroom, and I moved the furniture around, so it looked like "my" room, not the one we shared all those years. That helped.

          The days can seem endless, or you may feel "stuck" like you can't move. I saw a therapist who told me to make a list of possible things to do each day. They can be small, like Take a Nap, or do the laundry, call a friend. But try to jot down a few things on a paper. Then when you feel lost, refer to it and try to do one of the things.

          Be careful who you trust about financial aspects of your life together. A lot has changed for you now. Maybe you are eligible for Social Security. I trusted my husband's Prudential agent, and he sold me an annuity that was awful for me, and made him a load of commission. I went too soon when I wasn't thinking clearly. I have an aggressive financial advisor now, and we are fighting it. At the worst, I can surrender it and get my money back, and have a trusted person invest it. Since he was more concerned with his commission than my well being, it didn't make much interest, so I won't lose much by surrendering it. But don't rush into anything, life insurance people shouldn't give you financial advice, it's in their best interest if they sell you stuff that makes them money.

          Don't listen to anyone who tells you that you need to be doing this or that, do it all on your own terms in your own time. Everyone is different. I got through the first year, but the week of the anniversary of that day still has me thrown. I got there, but now, the week after, I'm sick with a chest cold. I think our Body, Mind and Spirit are all connected. Be gentle to yourself. And don't be afraid to tell people you are tired or don't want company if you feel like being alone. Most of them only talk about their experiences with people who died, which isn't what you need now anyway.

          Do you have a hobby you like? This is a good time to do something like that, since it's winter and will relax you. Take care.

          1. moonlake profile image82
            moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I still feel like I should keep the lights turned off so I don't wake my husband when I'm on the computer, the computer room is just off our bedroom. I also kept our dog in his kennel in the computer room and he would be sleeping so I would also keep lights off for him, but he's gone too, he died two weeks before my husband.
            The financial thing is such a big headache I think I have done everything right but so far nothing has come in. Good thing I wasn't a mother with small children we would be starving.
            The days do seem endless. I take a lot of naps they get me through the days. I have so much to do but I don't seem to have the energy.
            I do have a hobby but haven't been able to do any of it. I need to sew because I need new curtains on my windows. We never put curtains on but  I need to do that now.
            I had a strange man come to my door a couple weeks ago and he could look right in. It was dark and below zero who would think anyone would be out that time of night. Without thinking I opened the door, (that will never happen again). He was stuck in my drive-way and wanted a shovel. When I looked out the window I saw he was in the drive-way and people showed up to help him out. I saw a car sitting farther back by the other side of the drive-way. When it left I saw that it was a cop for some reason he was watching them.
            Thank you for your advice I need that. I don’t know anyone that has lost their husband.

  27. Kathleen Cochran profile image79
    Kathleen Cochranposted 9 years ago

    Reading through this thread reminds me how wonderful the HP family can be, how beautifully we tend to each other. 

    Moonlake, I've had several women who are close to me lose their husbands, and they all say people expect it to be hard the first year and then they'll be better.  But they find it takes longer and the best thing you can do is give yourself time.  Go at your own pace. Gather your memories and share them with those you love.  There is nothing wrong with grieving the loss of someone you loved.

    1. moonlake profile image82
      moonlakeposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      My friends are very understanding right now for how long they'll be that way I don't know. My friend called this evening we were laughing about how upset my husband was one day when he went in McDonald's when we were traveling and some guy said to him "Hey, old timer I like your hat." He didn't  like to be called old timer he said "I could take that guy down anytime.” He didn't use those words but that's what he meant.
      I talk about him, it seems to help. I try to do that with family and friends, but not too much with friends. Family seems to want to talk about him, they miss him too.


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