It’s Okay!

its okayIt is already December 23, can you believe it?  For some of us, it can’t go by too quickly to suit us, for others, we have had such a difficult time getting our act together that we are crying out for the clock to stop ticking.  If you find yourself in either camp, it is okay.  It is all okay, and that is my mantra this holiday season.  Don’t worry, don’t stress, just do what you can when you can.  If others have a problem with that, it is their problem, not yours, not mine.

To be honest, this, my third Christmas Season as a widow, is easier than I expected.  The second one was the most difficult and many will say the same thing.  The second year is the toughest. That said, there are times when memories will assail our thoughts and happiness will fade for a few minutes or hours; even days for that matter. But, all in all, this third year brought the return of joy.

I wrote about memories in the last post and just wanted to say a little bit more about this.  Our memories are likely to overtake our mood at some point during this season.  Just go with it.  Memories are good, they remind us that we are still alive and they keep us from going into denial.

One memory I will deal with this Christmas Eve, and probably every other one from here on out, is the fact that it was Christmas Eve when we called upon Hospice for help. There was finality as well as relief in this act.  I am sure many of you can relate.

You have your thoughts on this topic and I would love to hear them.  What is the most difficult thing about observing the Christmas Season?  What is the blessing you have experienced?  Jesus is the reason for the season, and while this saying might be over-used it is still true.  Just think of the memories Jesus’ mother ‘pondered’ each year on her Son’s birthday.  I leave you with these words.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14)  

Merry Christmas
Grace ‘n Grins,

Judy

Sweet and Sour

photoI could hardly write about my thoughts and experiences as a widow without visiting the topic of memories and holidays.  The first year is filled with firsts; first birthday, first anniversary, first Thanksgiving and first Christmas, to mention the obvious. There are other ‘firsts’ we all experience, but that is for another post.

This Christmas season memories are everywhere.  Regardless if this is your first Christmas without your spouse, or your fifth or twenty-fifth, moments of sadness will creep in to dampen your mood.  I am learning that this is not only normal, it is good.  It keeps us out of denial and helps us to face today with fond memories, even if garnished with a tear here and there.  It is all okay. Memories are good; they keep the loved one alive in our hearts.

Christmas was a favorite holiday for my husband, so I feel it is important to keep that spirit alive.  We knew the real reason for the season was to celebrate Jesus’ birth and our salvation.  It is also important to understand that Jesus wants us to party on His birthday.  He wants us to sing and to enjoy one another, and that is just what we do. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

One Christmas our family took a vacation to Hawaii.  We remember that Christmas each year, as one of our most memorable times together as family.  To this day it stands out as a great Christmas, for so many reasons.  There are also some memories not so sweet, some might even say they were sour, but such is the way of life.

This holiday, don’t allow the memories to dampen the festivities, use them to bring joy to the moments.  Because Jesus’ birth means salvation to those who believe, we have every reason to party on!  We have so much reason to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

Grace ‘n Grins,

Judy

Learning to Live Alone

new houseThis topic could fill up a few posts and address a number of issues.  Living alone is one thing; being alone is another.  Learning how to make decisions after having had a partner to process things with, and talk over the pros and cons, is a big deal. For this writer, decision making became a major hurdle, one I did not struggle with before this season.

I found that I could seldom make a decision and stick with it.  Things that would have been simple to deal with suddenly became insurmountable.  I would second guess myself at every turn, crippling my confidence and destroying my self-assurance.

I find this to be a strange phenomenon because during the weeks my husband was ill I could handle anything and everything.  I was decisive, prayerful and self-assured and knew what to do in every emergency situation that arose; and there were a number of them over the eleven weeks prior to Dave’s death.

One of the reasons decision making became so difficult may have something to do with the plan Dave and I had begun to lay out for our future; for our retirement.  We were so sure that God was with us when we discovered the home in the north woods of Wisconsin.  This was Dave’s dream to retire in a cabin tucked away in a wooded area, close to hunting and fishing and nature in general.  It seemed to be God’s design when we found the perfect place and all the financing fell in line; even in the midst of the economic downturn our country was facing.

We were happy, we had a plan for the future; in fact we had a three year plan.  God had a three month plan. We had prayerfully made this decision and were convinced it was God’s will for us.  Now, I know it was God’s will and part of his perfect plan – his perfect three month plan.  I can see that now.  This realization is making it easier to move forward with confidence, that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

There is more to this story, as God used those three months to grow Dave and me closer together.  He used this time to teach us ask the hard questions, to have the difficult discussions, and to draw us even closer to Him.  Then, God used the place in the north woods as a refuge for me for one year.  I moved from the home I knew for 33 years, to a new place; a place He hand-picked for me as part of the plan to heal my heart and reveal His goodness.

Won’t you share some of your journey?  This blog is meant to bring some of us together so we can encourage each other.  Our stories are important and they need to be told. As Sister’s in Christ we need to link arms and hold up each other, carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)

Grace and Grins,

Judy