I shouldn’t need to say this, but be kind to those who Grieve during the holidays.
A year ago, my husband was in the hospital after being diagnosed with late stage, metastatic bladder cancer. I’m not kidding when I say I had no holiday spirit at all. It drove me crazy that all the employees at the cancer hospital kept saying, “Have a nice day.”
I wanted to scream at them, “This is a freaking cancer hospital! How many people do you think are having a nice day?” The best alternative I could come up with was, “I hope your day doesn’t suck too badly.” But I politely kept my thoughts to myself. Stiff upper lip and all.
It’s always tough to lose someone you care about, but it seems especially difficult at the holidays when we’re surrounded by happy people looking forward to their gifts and parties, and with Christmas music playing nonstop in every store. The whole world seems happy except for those who are going through one of the toughest times in their lives. By New Year’s, I could have cheerfully strangled the people who were tone deaf enough to wish me a Happy New Year. There was nothing happy about it.
This first year of widowhood has been challenging and sad, though not without moments of joy, like my cruise. I’ve grown a lot in the process of being on my own for the first time in many years. Would I say it has been a good year? No, I wouldn’t go that far, though I wouldn’t call it a bad year. Last year was the bad one. I’d call 2015 a transitional year.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one or is going through a tough time due to some other kind of circumstance, please choose your holiday wishes carefully, lest someone wish to strangle you. And do keep in mind that not everyone is having a happy holiday season.
Wishing everyone the best holiday possible, whatever that may mean to you.