Widow creates her own holiday tradition

Anyone who lost their spouse this past year and years past, please take a minute to read this. I hope in some small way it might help you, as it has helped me to write it. I’m not a counselor – just a wife who is grieving and mourning the loss of her husband after 51 years of marriage.

I have been told the first Christmas will be the hardest I will ever spend. Well, they are right, but we have choices. What do I know? Well, my husband passed away two months ago, and only you who have lost a spouse can understand what I am feeling and what I am going through, as I know how you are feeling.

We all have choices. We can close ourselves away and be more miserable, or my choice: To live life one day at a time. I know that is what my husband would want me to do, and if you think about that, it is what your spouse would want for you.

As I am writing this, the tears are flowing freely, and that’s okay. It’s helping me get through the grieving process and make it through one more day.

So, this Christmas I choose to take a very deep breath and start a new tradition. I am going to send my husband a birthday Christmas card, as he was born on Christmas Day. So you see, I have double the pain.

You may think this lady is off her rocker – that’s your choice – but I will attach the card to a bunch of balloons and send it upward. Do I think he will get them? Of course not. It is my way of honoring him and the years we had together. He is no longer here with me, but he will always be in my heart, thoughts and memory.

You are asking yourself what this has to do with memories. Well, I plan on remembering the good times, the funny times, the vacations, the silly things we did and the many laughs we had together, holding hands and raising our children. Oh, yes, I will probably cry a lot, but there is nothing wrong with that. Family and friends will just have to be patient and understand I have lost the most important person in my life. Will every Christmas be this way? I pray and hope not. I am hoping each year will be a little better. It is up to me to make them better. I’ve got 365 days until next Christmas to make it easier.

Your job is to remember the good times you and your spouse had together. I am hoping you all have great memories. I am sure your spouse would tell you to live life. No, it’s not going to be easy. No one ever said life was easy, but it is worth living. You don’t have to do wild and crazy things, but just be with your family and friends and remember the good times together.

And if you are alone, do something you might not otherwise do. Go up to a stranger and wish them a merry Christmas.

We all have so much to be grateful for, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. But I am sure God has something for us to do before he calls us home. I have no idea what that will be, but I am sure he will let me know in his own time. I hope God blesses me with many more years, as I love life. I sure hope you do, too.

And maybe in time we will have a second chance to love again, and maybe not. It will never be like our first love. But no one wants to be lonely and alone.

During this Christmas season, I want to wish you all a merry Christmas and hope that 2009 will be a better year for all of us.

Happy birthday, Jesus, as you have been my strength.

And most of all, I want to wish my honey a happy birthday and merry Christmas. I love you.

Carolyn McKinley lives in Covington.

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