This will be my first year without my husband. After 20 years of marriage, it’s painful. This is the time of year when we are usually getting dressed up to go to Christmas parties… the time of year when he takes out the ladder to hang Christmas lights on our house and he brings in the Christmas tree for us to decorate. He was our “designated” person to place the star on top.
I don’t know what the future years will be like but it is very difficult this year and feels very strange and empty without him. While the neighbors continue to decorate their homes and the co-workers continue to bring in holiday cheer, the Christmas cards also begin to appear in the mailbox . I oftentimes wonder how I am going to get through what was always my favorite time of the year.
What I try to remind myself though is that this was a man who gave me and our girls the world. I was blessed to have had him for 20+ years. He would want me to continue to take our girls to church, to get them in the kitchen cooking (he loved to cook) and to just continue doing what we have been accustomed to as much as possible.
And, honestly, although on many days I “just don’t feel like it,” I know that deep down inside I have to keep our family going. So during this holiday season, although I’m not in the mood for decorating and listening to Christmas carols, I try to engage the children as much as I can in the festivities – for this is their childhood. And when I find that it’s just too much on any given day, I ask for help and take time out for myself. I forget on some days but I know it’s essential “every day.” For the well being of my soul, I pray, read or just take a nice hot bath to regroup all by myself. I know that if I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of anyone else. And during those times when I feel lonely, I pick up the phone and talk to friends and family.
This holiday season is not just difficult for me but also for the three children who look to me to keep our family moving forward. Realizing that Dad will always be looking down on us from heaven, we know that we are not really alone.
Finally, tips for my fellow military widows during the holidays :
1. Take some “me time” for yourself every day.
3. Start a new book or read something of interest every day.
4. Begin a new hobby or interest - something you have always been interested in doing
5. Spend quality time with family and friends
6. Give to others who are less fortunate than yourself
Proud wife of Dexter Williams, USNAVY Retired