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The Freight Train Called Xmas Music


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It is a wonderfull day......then the secretary at workk turned on Xmas Music, little did I know.......little did I suspect that I would act like this..........started to sob and sob.......had to leave the floor......................

I really use to love Xmas.........now Xmas music is my enemy......I cant stand it, the sweet sappy melodys, that remind me of better times in my life........the simple songs that hit me like a freight train......that caused such an anxiety attack, pressure on my chest, panic. I went through my phone dialing anybody I thought would listen and no one answered. Finally one friend returned my call and listened to me while I rambled, went back inside and washed my face.......and the secretary announced "we dont need to be listening to Xmas music anymore, its not worth it to see you so upset" a very sweet gesture, and yet we are approaching the season, when I will be exposed to this all the time.......will I make it through this or will I repeatedly have break downs....I honestly didnt think I would have such an experience, but alas I am not immune to having something unexpected set me off.......There will no Xmas in the Smith/Collins household this yr..............Dave

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Dear Dave,

I think that they have always started the Christmas music way to soon anyway. Even before I lost the love of my life, Pauline. What is so odd though is in church we will be singing Jesus Messiah, this coming Sunday. I love to sing them but not listen to them on the radio, if that makes any since, I do not know. I will be a different Christmas without Pauline this year. I do not know yet what I will be doing. I do know I will put up a couple of her favorite decorations for her. It will bring me comfort as well.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Yes, this is a hard one. It will be my third Christmas and I know it will be better only because I have survived two before.

My advice is to only do/go to what you think you can handle -not what you think you should.

Stay only as long as you can stand - and let people know when you arrive that it may only be a short visit.

Understand that when we were happy we celebrated and did not mean any hurt to anyone else.

I try to keep telling myself that it is only one more day without him, just like every other day. The name that we give it won't make me miss him any more or less.It helps me get through those functions when things get really tough.

I know I'll still have the tears in the shopping centre; hate buying gifts; cringe when people tell me to have a great Christmas, wish the family/friend get togethers over ASAP etc etc.

No way around it, but we will make it through...Susie Q

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I walked into the hardware store this morning and the Christmas music was loud and clear....puts knots in my stomach. I keep attempting to put these holidays in perspective. I used to teach a stress management class that was called: Avoiding stress during the holidays or something like that. It is indeed our expectations that make these times so difficult. I still expect (in a sense) to spend the holidays the way I did for so many years with Bill. Of course, that is an unrealistic expectation. But so is it unrealistic that we would not feel sadness and loss more keenly at this time of the year. So many memories.

I am trying to look at these days as just a day. It is a head trip but it helps a little bit. I am trying to decide whether or not I will even put out some candles. I used to make live centerpieces for every room...even the bathroom sink, put up a lit PEACE sign in the yard, tree, etc. Last year I did nothing. Not sure what I will do. I am thinking of some red candles....that's it. Getting all that stuff out feels like a job...not joy.

Dave, I am sorry I missed your call. My computer guy was here getting my "new" laptop syncing with everything. I had two contractors working within feet of me and talking soooo loud...not a time to answer the phone. I am sorry you had a tough day at work. I, like most of us, will be happy to see January come....but then comes Bill's birthday, then the anniversary of his death....it does not end...but i am learning to live with all of it somehow....through tears many days.

Peace to all

Mary mfh

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It will get better but not likely your first year, it takes a long time to adjust to all of the changes in your life. My first Christmas without George was at the six month mark. I bought him a Christmas ornament like I always did and hung it on the tree. I hung his stocking (I still do) so we could put something in there about him, a favorite memory, anything. I still have our bears out...they are two bears joined together, and it sings "Walking in the winter wonderland." A friend had bought it for us, said it looked like us. George loved it so much he'd set it in the back seat of the car and when he picked guys up for work, they just had to put up with it. I still smile thinking about that...he was nuts about me and not afraid to show it. So the bears still have a prominent place in our household. I still put his ornaments on the tree...one is a fishing hat, just like his. Christmas hurts, it has a big gaping hole where they were. I hope someday they hold some joy again for me. Maybe when I have grandchildren? I don't think that all widows/widowers miss their spouse as much as we here do. Some weren't much to miss, some were crotchety, mean, abusive. We are the ones who were married to someone special that nothing replaces. And we are the ones that struggle and continue to miss them.

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Kay, I totally agree about the folks here missing their spouses. I have friends whose husbands died and I know their marriages and their grief is so different. I have had friends tell me that they understand because they could see the love Bill and i had for each other....I frankly did not know it was so obvious. One woman told me that when we came into the General Store for coffee, she always watched us chatting because she so wanted what she saw us having together. When lives are intertwined and souls are one....we lose part of us.

As for Christmas...not sure what I will do. I used to love it. Now I dread it. My brother announced that he is coming if the weather holds (5 hour drive). He has no clue what to do with me and it is not really comfortable. He is a priest and has no family or experience with intimate relationships and is just lost though well intentioned and caring.

I, like you, hope someday to find some peace in holidays.

Peace

Mary

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Yes, Holidays are indeed different and will never be the same...This year will be my first Holiday's and Christmas in my new home, I have been having the SUG's for the past week, Ruth and I always decorated our home with a true "winter wonderland theme" complete with Santa's village under the tree and a train slowly making it's rounds about the buildings and lights, and our special focus was our nativity sets placed about the house never forgetting the "reason for the season"...last year I did very little I put up a small white tree as Ruth always wanted one but I always balked at the idea, funny how I wanted it last year maybe I thought she would return if I did that I also placed all her snowmen around the tree no village, it was peaceful indeed, the navity sets were palced in the normal places allowing me to keep things in some perspective, this year it will all be about finding the NEW areas of my home to place these special holiday decorations...I'm planning a small village and some lights outdoors and of course the nativity sets will be my focal point one will be placed on the credenza with her memorial and I'm sure I will find spots for the others, Brenda gave me a new piece for my village last year so the village will indeed return this year not on the same scale but it will be set up around the tree and the train will be making it's rounds once again...I will keep things on a small level as it's so hard with all the emotions flowing...Brenda and I have made plans for a week away leaving the day after Christmas for a week at the Beach and to get away from everything as we build our new memories and move forward with our life together...Thanksgiving will be spent at her house with her children, grandchildren and my youngest son who lives in Florida feasting, sharing and giving thanks for all we have been blessed with, I have the day off so I will be helping her prepare the meal something I have always done since my first marriage and I missed doing last year as I worked...Friday I will decorate the house and do some shopping something I have always wanted to do (I must be nuts), Brenda has to work but will join me in the evening for a quiet evening of reflection and relaxing at my home...I feel the emotions with a great amount of positive energy this year as I keep reminding myself Ruth always told me I must continue on with the vibrant life I convey and she will be right by my side as my guiding Angel to comfort me when I'm feeling the sadness...I wish and pray for a comforting Holiday Season for everyone here and those going thru what we are all going thru everywhere...

May God Bless Us All...

NATS

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Doing ok here, for today guess it was good to cry....am thinking that I am not doing enough to honor Mike, absolutely ridiculous, I know...but I struggle with his memory and love and try to move forward and build new life....he is on my mind constantly, rarely a break from the grief, as others have said it is part of me.....I guess that what is to be the "happiest time of the yr" is rubbing salt into this wound, as it is doing for us all....

My Counselor, who is fabulous!Thanks MaryJo! I s suggesting that instead of all this constant focus on Mike....which is true, everything I do I think of Mike and say to myself and others " I think Mike would approve" I start doing things for myself........one problem nothing makes me passionate, anymore.......everything that was my hobbies dogs, cats horses, gardening has lost its luster, as the only thing that made me happy is gone....How do I get that passion back? What do you do to make yourself happy when nothing sounds appealing?

Well actually I guess my priority is just getting through the holidays..maybe if i hide my head in the sand it will go away....4 more weeks and the 5 and 2 yr old will be here, and my focus will be playing and playing, since I am the favorite uncle! which is helpfull since I am the only Uncle....Dave

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Dave, keep in mind that you are only a few months into this journey. But I also agree with your counselor....may be time to find a new interest that you did not have before Mike died. I started painting and it is a great distractor. I wonder if you did something that you never tried before....if it wouldn't help. Don't look for deep passion about it as your feelings are being focused elsewhere but just bring your energy to it...there are times when I just can't begin to see myself show up for painting class or group and on a rare occasion I give in but mostly I push myself to go and it is better when I do.

Think about some new hobby....something you may have always wanted to try and something that involves a group...taking a class in astronomy, buy yourself a telescope. Or woodworking or whatever. It almost does not matter but you do need to have some interest but not necessarily passion.

Just a thought....

It sounds like the kids will be good for you....maybe volunteering somewhere fun...like a preschool with kids or a soup kitchen.

Mary

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On my way out the door so this will be short. I know it is hard to figure out but you are a giving guy and i know your job is a giving job so you don't want a draining thing...it might require open mind, stretching yourself and push a bit....while you also listen to your own voice. Tricky stuff. Are you dealing with guilt around Mike?

Not sure why I asked that.

Mary

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Yeah Mary some guilt and yet why????? I know it is foolish because I dont understand why I feel guilt, give him my all, and still do....dont feel guilty about me being left behind.....guess I feel guilty at the thought of rebuilding, with that being said it doesnt make any sense to me..... yes awfully hard on myself need to do some research on gulit think marty has posted some

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Dear Dave,

One thing that I have found, is photography. I always took pictures of Pauline, and some very good one at that. Real close ups, with her and her helper monkey sleeping together, with her Rose Breasted Cockatoo. I started taking all kinds of pictures now. I really enjoy it very much. Taking pictures at night, birds, butterflies, flowers, and sun rises, and sun sets. People just doing daily things, shooting in black and white. I always like taking photos, but now I have my camera and tripod with me all the time, so when I see something unusual or something. I start shooting, I may take 50 pictures of one thing, just to get that one great photo. Just something to think about. It takes my mind to a different place for awhile. Which we all need to do from time to time.

God Bless

Dwayne

It has been said, TIME HEALS all WOUNDS. I do not agree. The WOUNDS remain. In TIME the MIND protecting its SANITY, cover them with scar tissue, and the PAIN LESSENS, but is NEVER GONE.!!!!! ROSE KENNEDY

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Dwayne, dear ~ I thought of you when I read an article by photographer Robert Schwartztrauber, Content Aware Fill for the Soul. An excerpt:

. . . Photography forces you to change your focus and begin to see the infinite beauty in all the wonders of this world. You're naturally drawn to photograph the things you love when you get started, so it's easy to forget your troubles. Your void begins to fill with beauty. You smile a lot.

Photography is life's "Content Aware Fill".

In order to become whole again, in order to become more than you are, you must do something. You must take action. Photography is perfect because it is simple. Everyone can take a photograph. Some better than others, but we can all do it. The more you become involved the more focused you become. You become focused on the good and the beautiful.

Photography forces you to get up and get out. It forces you to do something different. As your reward for taking action you will see things you have never seen before. You will meet wonderful people you've never met before. Right next to what you love there is more; and that is your Content Aware Fill.

When you need a new view, remember that your camera already has a viewfinder. Why not use it to see all the beauty you've been missing. Use your camera to quickly fill the void.

[Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6678571]

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Marty Thanks for the article and the guilt link again! There seems to be a fine line between grief and love, have found myself studying this article a few times.....and find it deep....what it is saying isnt coming to me immediately, that is how to define my grief and my love for Mike, but know it will come to me in a AHAH moment while driving..........will work on doing something for myself, wish it would come to me quickly, what I would like to do instead of cleaning house,yard and animals.......this regular drudgery........is not healthy, despite needing to be done.....Dave

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Dave, I am not sure if saying Happy Thanksgiving, is appropiate, but I want to wish you a peaceful Harvest, and Holiday Season. See, that is just it, I think, everyone here made some excellent points, especially the one regarding acquiring new interests, that were independent of your late partner. I think, that when you start to realize the sincerity of others, the genuine regard, that friends and associates may have, when they say something like Happy Holidays, Or Merry Christmas, maybe you might see the good around you, and hence absorb it. Music I believe is meant to stir the soul, the senses, and the body. I am not sure if there is anything negative in that, rather, how you allow yourself to take in the melody, and infuse infuse it, in your life. If the urge strikes you to cry, or scream, or in my case clean, or run, I do. I suggest you do the same, let your passions, be stirred, in what ever format, you will then see, how you can actually control them/focus, in a positive manner. My mother, having recently lost my father, is in a similar state to yours, except that she does not have the sense of out reach, that you have. Instead, she stays in the moment, filled with grief, and each song, picture, melody, memory is like a stab for her. I realize we all have different levels of resiliance, and fortitude. Still, I often think, that these facets (music, pictures) , are not the real issue, maybe, the process of healing is about discovering that? maybe I dunno? : )

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I have always loved Christmas music and have played it daily during the holiday seasons. For the first time this season, I just put on a CD of Christmas music that Rich had bought for me, and immediately started sobbing and wailing. I had to turn if off. Wow, now I am exhausted and it is only 9:00 am.

I got through Thansgiving okay, mainly because of two things. A dear cousin flew in to spend Monday through Saturday with me. And I hosted a singles lunch for 4 of us the day before Thanksgiving. Three of us are recent widows and widowers. I hope to continue these singles lunches. Entertaining at home was our main form of fun, and this was the first entertaining I have done since Rich died in May.

I was surprised how I broke down when I put the Christmas music on. I am still a little shakey from it. I hope to drive the 8 hours to Nashville to spend Christmas with Rich's mother. Boy, this doesn't get any easier, does it?

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We (I guess I will always be a "we", that he will always be part of me and with me) have a large CD collection, mostly classical, alternative and folk... with a host of Christmas music. Bill's favorite CD was Dale Warland's December Stillness...it was playing when he died...to date...the stereo has not played in this house. December Stillness is on my iPad and iPod and I can't even begin to approach that as I know I will just sit and weep. Warland's music moved us both to tears as did Mahler. It will be a long time before I listen to either.

It is 20 months ago today that Bill crossed that threshold and the thought of playing Christmas music (or any music) is more than I can tolerate. I have not decided on putting up a little tree yet...just not sure and it feels like a chore. I agree, Salley, that sometimes it just does not get any easier but there are those times now when the pain does not devastate me .

20 months feels like a century and like 5 minutes....hard to believe.

Peace

Mary mfh

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My Thanksgiving weekend has been ok, should of worked filling in at area hospitals but just couldnt do it, I wish with all this extra time I have taken off I could see more accomplished at home, but I guess my body is just trying to recover, if I had known this was really going to have this big of an impact on me, it would have been interesting to have had a ct/mri scan before and after to see what changes have occured....

Did some xmas shopping yesterday, when 91 yr od gma was here she saw my curio cabinet and stated in a weak voice 'It was always my dream that I would get one of this" damn talk about a guilt trip.....was going to give her mine, but found one similar at a good price and bought it, will dress it up with a new mirror in the back and some wood trim to the front.....I think it is appropriate to give amyone at that age anything they want...so maybe this project will keep me occupied until the kids get here, but while out shopping at an antique store yesterday the xmas music was playing, surprisingly so I was ok until.......Ill Have a Blue Xmas without You, started to get sick to my stomach, if I was at the front of the store I would have run out, but as fate would allow, was in the back and the store was a maze, was stuck! My good friend Ed was with me, knowing how that song upsets me and just began to talk about anything above the music, I survived that round.......

The "last" good day Mike and I had was a Sunday at the end of March, I was outside working in the hedge when he came out and asked that I go on a ride with him, at first I said no I have too much to do, then he looked at me again out of the corner of his eye, dissapointed, I immediately recanted and said yes, give me a few minutes, so glad I did we laughed and had a good time at his sisters planning my bday party, that was never to be, for that was the day I had to make decisions about his hospice and end of life care.............I bring this up only in the fact that we had dinner that evening and we both at the same time said,we really like the salt and pepper shakers on the table lets take them home, we did and laughed it was so fun, today while having breakfast I used those shakers, I laughed and shed a tear......those shakers mean more to me than anything else left to me......2 cheap shakers, that...yes..... we stole.........are priceless to me.........

Well need to go care for the livestock need to come up with a different plan for the chickens as it appears that my produce supply has dried up.......Take care...Dave

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Dear Marty,

Thank you for the link and the encouraging words. You are so right, when you are focusing on taking pictures, all you see is the beauty all around you. That is a very good place to be. I have found real peace with myself inside and with my thoughts, and where I let them go. I have, great peace at being home in our apartment, that we shared for 21 years. I have already bought a couple Christmas presents over the weekend. I am blessed that I start my nursing school in the morning at 9 AM.

I will keep you updated. I did sing a Christmas carols in church today, and we will be singing every week from now on until Christmas. I also bout some new Christmas Music, over the weekend. Even though Pauline passed on before me. She wanted me to move forwards in my life. I am doing that now. I think because Pauline was so sick wit the MS for so many years, I have a different look on things, than many others do, who had a loss, but only seen the ugliness, of the failing of their loved one for a relative short period of time. It doesn't mean, that the loss is any less, but I believe I was more prepared for the ending. Now I take what I learned for all those years, and have turned it into a positive, with my schooling.

God Bless

Dwayne

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For what it's worth, your feelings are so normal for where you are in your journey and with time and effort, it does get more palatable. At 6 1/2 years out, I now can look at our pictures, hang his stocking and ornaments and yes I still feel that pang inside of me and I still miss him but I don't sob anymore (I feel like I'm jinxing myself by saying that). My life is not like before, it does not hold the joy and focus and purpose I once had but I've gotten more used to living alone...I say "used to" not "like", although I do like some aspects of it, but not enough that I wouldn't throw everything overboard in a heartbeat to have George back again.

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Hi Dave,

I hear you (no pun intended; ) ) about the music. I had to take my 14 YO daughter to the mall last nite (would rather be beaten than do that she is SOOO picky!!!) and I had to LEAVE a couple of stores. The music was deafening and spoke to me, "all I want for Christmas is YOU" ugh, I nearly broke down in the stores and quite frankly didn't care if I did. I made a comment in front of the cashier in one and she laughed and I told her I just lost my husband in June and she understood that I am not just a scrooge but a woman in mourning.

I don't know what to say except I am in the same place and it is killing me. One thing that I thought of this morning since the holidays are so steeped in tradition and ritual is to maybe start a new one to honor him, maybe that would help you too. I have to think about it more but maybe that would give us a purpose for this crazy time, and in the same way honor your Mike and my Henry. Just an idea but maybe one that would work!

Take care and stay out of those stores! Do your shopping online!!!

Shelley

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