Christmas is coming - how are you coping?

Christmas isn’t always a time of joy for members of this community. While other people are enjoying the festive season, some of you might be finding this time of year particularly hard.

Many of you have lost loved ones, and may be missing them more than ever. Others are coping with terminal illness and might find that the celebrations feel touched with sadness. But some of you will also be able to enjoy some special moments in spite of difficult situations.

I’ve started this conversation as a place for you to support each other through the Christmas period – a safe space if you need to escape, to vent those difficult emotions, or to raise a virtual glass with fellow Online Community members!

Post a reply any time this December to let us know how you are feeling and coping.

This will be the second Christmas without my husband, last year was a blur to be honest and chose to spend it on my own. This year I have options but haven’t decided what to do yet, I will be seeing my grandchildren in the morning and decide what to do later. It’s just not the same anymore my life is very empty without my soulmate. Can’t face been around people that are happy and enjoying Xmas, I just don’t feel happy anymore.

It must be really tough for you Lois - the lead up to Christmas must make you feel very lonely, without being able to share it with your husband. I hope you find enjoyment seeing your grandchildren on Christmas morning - and am sure they will love spending time with you. I will be thinking of you!

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Thankyou Jackie I’m just taking one day at a time but really not looking forward to Christmas at all. My sister has invited me to her house for dinner but just can’t face it with family as Kevin would normally be there and it’s just a massive reminder he’s not here.

I think you are right in not deciding, at the moment, what you will do during the Christmas period. You are bound to feel sad and empty, spending it without Kevin. I am sure your family will understand that you need time on your own. As you say Lois, one day at a time - not easy I know!

Hi. I am also having my second Christmas without my soulmate. It is beyond difficult and although I want everyone to be happy just watching couples of my age just kills me. Last year I spent it with my son, his partner and my grandson and I know that he is suffering too and I did get through it without upsetting anyone and keep my tears for home. I am doing the same this year and will a make sure I don’t upset anyone. I love my family very much but without my husband I don’t want to keep going and I definitely don’t want a new partner. I wish you all the very best and am sorry I have not been able to offer anything more cheerful. I hope it helps to know you are not alone.

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Hi Ev, it’s also my husbands birthday on the 15th of December there is always something to remind you they are not with us anymore. I’m hoping to go back to work on the 4th Jan after the Xmas period is over need to get some structure in my life again. Just some days are really difficult as I’m sure you know.

I think structure is a good idea. December is never going to be easy and you have sincere thoughts for you at this time. I retired just over a year before my husband’s sudden death as we were planning our retirement together. He collapsed on Valentine’s Day and was officially dead on the 16th and on the 22nd he would have been 60. So February is a month I find very, very difficult. Take care and best wishes for the future.

I have not posted for a while, last few weeks have been terrible. It will be 7 months next week since my husband passed away; he was my world! I can’t bear to think about Christmas, it’s too painful. Last night I sat with some cards and the address book, i could not bring myself to write a single card. I don’t want to upset any of the family or make them feel bad about enjoying Christmas, but I would like to be left alone with my thoughts and spend the day at the cemetery. i don’t think I have the energy to put on an act and a brave face, I do that everyday at work, is that too much ask? Am I being selfish?
Hope you all have a peaceful Christmas.

Hello Libby, I am so sorry that you’re having such a tough time at the moment. I think you must try and put yourself ‘first’ for a while - and please don’t feel that you should be fitting in with how others expect you to be during this lead up to Christmas. I’m sure your husband would be wanting you to cope with life a day at a time, and on Christmas Day to spend it as you feel you want to. I will be thinking of you and hope you can find some serenity.

Thank you Jackie, i hope I can get through this ‘festive’ period. Today my counselor suggested I discuss my wishes with my family as none of them are mentioning Christmas but I know I will be expected to join them all for the day, normally if Christmas day was at my sister’s boxing day would have been here or vice versa. I have made absolutely no plans for boxing day and I simply can’t think about it.

Libby it is not 21 months since my husband died suddenly and I didn’t write cards last year and I am not doing it again this year. I wrote special thank you Christmas cards to special friends and I did give my family cards. With me I did things because people thought it was best for me and it was many, many months before I could see how it had not helped and I had to do, or not do, what I wanted. I go to the graveyard a couple of times a week and used to go more because I want to do it. I don’t think anyone in our situation can give advice because we are all different so do what feels write for you and not what you think other people want. I can readily admit I would have offered people advice about to get on with their lives etc before I was in this situation and I can now see how inappropriate it would have been. Try to be kind to yourself, apologise for nothing and do what you want to do - all things will change in different ways as time goes on. Take care x

I’m sure it must be difficult so Xmas is difficult enough then you have Feb coming up. We are on a roller coaster ride and some times I just want to get off. Unfortunately we have to stay on it and keep going. You must feel robbed of your retirement with your husband and it really isn’t fair. I also feel robbed of my future with my husband I was 48 when he passed, seems a long time left to live without him.

Hi Libby I’ve also been having a terrible time since September I just completely shut down. Sometimes we have to think about what is best for us not everyone else, last year was my first Xmas without my husband and I just wanted to spend the day all by myself, everyone was saying you can’t be on your own and I just told them to respect my wishes at this time and spent it on my own. We have to do what will help us get through and if that’s what you want to do then do it. Unless people walk in your shoes they can not judge you and expect you to do things you don’t want to do.

So young. I really feel for you. I was 61 and we had been married for 38 years and he was a year younger than me. I was getting ready to make the Valentine’s day dinner when he was fixing something to our back steps and when I looked out he was lying on the ground. I know I am blessed by having met and married him and have a lovely family and grandchildren but I am ashamed to say even they do not make me want to live. I hope I don’t have a long time to live without him. 48 is young and I hope at the very least you find a friend who understands. Take care and my sincere best wishes. X

Ev, Lois thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I feel so lost and alone and really hate the thought of Christmas without my husband. I feel exactly the same Ev I hope I don’t have to wait too long to join my husband, I don’t think I could live like this for too long; My life has no meaning! I am glad my friend heard about Sue Ryder on Telly and advised me to join. Libby x

Ev you yourself are very young too. It must have been devastating for you too see your husband like that. I also feel very happy and blessed to have met such a wonderful man I was 18 when we met and was together for 30 years. One of my best friends says to me that she is envious of what I had with Kev has she never had that. But for me I just feel robbed of my soulmate and have a lot of life left to live without him. I also know what you mean about your family not wanting to make you live I feel exactly the same, the person that was everything to us has gone. Take care I’m thinking of you.

Libby I also feel the same as you hope it’s not too long till I see my husband again. At the minute it’s just an existence and not enjoyable. I try really hard to get on with my life. I’ve been off work since September and hoping to go back in January. Are you seeing a counsellor at all it might help you, I’ve just recently started counselling through Sue Ryder hospice in Leeds and it is helping me but it’s very early days. They have also started doing coffee mornings for spouses under 55 and I really enjoy going along to these to meeting lots of lovely people that are in the same position as me. Take care I’m here if you need to talk.

I walk every morning with my dog and regularly meet another lady was has been a widow longer than me and between talking to people and meeting others like this I can say that we all have so much in common so we are definitely not alone. Sometimes we laugh at how sad and stupid we are. About the things people say - I was asked yesterday if I am enjoying my retirement from someone who was at the funeral! You have to laugh at some of the things and sometimes through the tears. Counselling was not for me but I can appreciate how important it is for others. I decided to start studying and am doing so through the Open University. No pressure and no compulsory classes although I have attended some in Edinburgh. That is not advice it is just letting you know something which has given me something else focus on. Thinking of you and sending a hug. Ev

Hi Lois I sent a reply to Libbymwhich is really for you too but not sure how to make something go to more than one recipient. A lot of things I am not sure about and as you also had a close relationship there is a lot of fear of the unknown too and how we will cope without our help and sounding board. Grieving is so diverse which is why there is no answer to how we cope. I haven’t any answers either. Thanks for your,thoughts I do think it is good to ‘talk’ to people who understand because these are the only people you actually tell the truth too. Take and I am also thinking of you too take care.