Not feeling the whole ho-ho-ho-jolly thing?
You have my permission to run for the door
the next time someone says,
“You mustn’t be so glum sweetheart;
it’s the happiest time of year. Lighten up!”
Yes, yes, yes, I know.
You want to throw eggnog in their face and
kick over the Christmas tree on your way out…
…but let’s not.
Just run away.
My first suicide-widow-Christmas was in 2009.
And yes, I ran away.
Ran about as far as possible from Oregon.
My kids and I hid at my brother’s.
In New York.
I felt anonymity—for the first time!
God bless the mass of humanity overfilling the island of Manhattan,
not one a single soul gave me ‘the look’.
You know ‘the look’.
The: “Is she going to cry? OMG, how do I handle it if she cries.” look.
Seriously people? Way to make it all about you.
As my ninth husband-less Christmas approaches,
I can reassure you life gets easier.
S. L. O. W. L. Y.
very, very, very S. L. O. W. L. Y.
You’re no doubt stronger and smarter than me…
it took me a good five+ holiday seasons
to tame the toss-eggnog-in-the-face temptation.
Frankly, I still fantasize.
To be truly helpful here, I ought to share
zillions of my post-suicide missteps…
and celebrate the divinely
restorative healing process, etc. etc. etc.
Today you’re overwhelmed trying to cope with:
Forgive me if this is too much, too soon.
Two things. Two big things.
Two deeply complex truth-things.
My truths…and I suspect you own them too.
Reprioritizing is the single best gift of suicide widowhood.
Reprioritizing is the HARDEST part of suicide widowhood.
The day of my husband’s suicide God granted clarity.
Instantly I knew what to hold dear…
…and what to release (which was 99.9% of my to-do list).
Clarity asked me to reprioritize my entire world.
If that sounds easy, trust me, it’s the hardest work of my life.
A near-constant struggle.
I bring this up now…because…
grieving during ‘the happiest time of the year’
You and I share that clarity.
You know the world’s tribal and materialistic values stall healing.
You know fears are tamed while facing lost dreams.
You know sitting under an avalanche of memories mends brokenness.
You know self-compassion grows while untangling conflicted feelings.
You know you must from-the-gut-feel to heal.
And you WANT TO HEAL.
As the self-proclaimed Queen of Suicide Widow Etiquette,
I hereby grant you permission to:
Hug comfort when it finds you.
Thank the Love we call God for how far you’ve come.
Skip social media and social-anything you’re not in the mood for.
Yes, you can skip that ‘see & be seen’ cocktail party.
Gift gratitude instead of things.
Begin to reprioritize.
Thoughtfully reprioritize some more…and more…and more.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Eggnog moments notwithstanding,
grief awakens sacred knowing.
Listen with your heart.
You are wiser and stronger than you know.