I’ve been widowed for 25 months. This is the third Christmas without George however he wasn’t far off in my mind. My niece opened her gifts so excited to see what Santa had brought for her and I remembered all those Christmases before in Ohio with George dressed up as Santa handing out gifts to his niece and nephew. I didn’t enjoy those Christmases as much. The excitement of it all bothered me. I remember how badly I wanted to fly back to Connecticut to by with my family. I would sit off to the side sipping on wine while watching the kids crawl all over him screaming for gifts and passively thanking Santa once it was all over. Only now if I could turn back time, I would’ve enjoyed every damn second of it. A piece of holiday guilt that lingers on.
I’ll never make that mistake again.
The days prior to today, Mike visited my family in Connecticut to meet my parents, and I traveled with him to meet his. It’s a different dynamic this go around but very familiar too. I’m grateful his family opened their home to me and showed me their hometown. I wanted to see and learn more about him and where he came from. I wanted them to like me, and I think they did. My family enjoyed meeting Mike, but much of the attention of my family was on our niece. Very much like when I would go to Ohio with George. His family paid most of their attention to his niece and nephew which made the meeting of the family not as eventful as anticipated. I empathized with Mike because of that, but I also now see how that’s beneficial because it means more time to explore and do what we want.
I loved Christmas this year. It’s the most relaxed I had felt in weeks. I’m getting to a point where I feel like myself again. And the waves of sadness are becoming still. It takes time, and now as I head into the third year without George I’m beginning to understand what triggers my grief, how to avoid the hopelessness, and what needs to be there in order to survive. I do miss him, but he gave me strength to get my life back on track.