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A Year Withoout Christmas


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There will be no Christmas at my house this year. No Joy. No presents. Just tears. I lost my wife of 20 years to pancreatic cancer 1 week ago, and every day seems worse than the one before. Looking at all the "stuff" she collected and trying to determine what goes and what stays in my memory trunk that now contains memories of my parents. 68 is so young. Everything we bought together has to be classified in the database of my mind as "goes" or "stays". Do the Christmas decorations "go" or "stay"? Valentines Day - the day we got married 20 years ago - has gone from a happy day toa sad day overnight.

When do the tears stop? Will the trunk be big enough for all our memories? Will I ever enjoy Christmas again??

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Hi Ref,

I was so touched by your post. I am so sorry you lost your wife, and so recent. It's still probably so unreal to you right now. I can relate, so well. I lost my fiance last October, 2010, and I haven't posted much this Holiday season, probably because it just doesn't hold the same meaning for me, and last year I didn't really celebrate. Nothing will ever be the same for you, but it is really too new to even consider 'celebration' a reality anymore. Right now you have to take care of yourself, the feelings and grief are overwhelming, but let the pain flow through and don't concern yourself with tradition. Those things as you knew it for the last 20 years are forever changed. I met my fiance in my early 40's and thought I had finally found who I would spend the rest of my life with. He was the very best man I had ever known and after the previous mistakes I had made in my life, it was finally my turn to be happy. But then cancer stepped in and took his life....suddenly...I really had no time to even adjust to the horror of loss before he was gone. So, I do understand where you are today. All the memories, decorations, traditions...what to do with all that? I didn't do anything last Christmas. I decorated the tree for my young son and made the Holidays as best I could, for his sake, but he was suffering, too. I didn't go anywhere, no parties, no cheer, no joy and believe me, this Christmas isn't much different, except that the sting of his death isn't as painful. But the grief lives on. I still haven't put away all his things, but I can speak of him now without falling apart. It will take lots of time, but give yourself that time to work through all your feelings. The trunk will NOT be big enough for all your memories! But your heart can hold it all. Don't put anything away or change anything until YOU are ready. No need to rush that right now. Take care and keep posting. It helps.

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Dear ref

I am so so sorry for the loss of your wife. You are here with caring, supportive and sadly a bunch of people experienced with spousal loss. I lost my husband last year.

I must say that if your wife died 1 week ago, that it is highly (I mean highly) likely that you are still in a fog, shock and this is the time to just be concerned about you. Sorting through her stuff and making decisions is most likely postponed a while. Each of us is different but just consider that you do not have to make one decision except to take care of yourself right now....

As for the tears, I believe for me, they are healing...releasing feelings of pain and loss and loneliness instead of stuffing them inside of you only to become ulcers or exhaustion. This IS an exhausting process and it takes a while. It is 21 months since Bill died (we were together 36 years, married 23) and I still cry daily...NOT like a year ago. It changes but you can probably expect to cry for a long while with it diminishing over time. We are all different and the big thing is NOT to judge yourself, how long or short it takes to feel human again. Your world has been turned upside down....be gentle with yourself.

As for Christmas, who wants it? I did not due Christmas last year...I went to a friend's house...where they understood. This year I did not do a tree...I bought 2 poinsettias and put out a table runner. I could not care less about holidays. I just want them over....

Keep coming back here...people WILL respond to you and embrace you in your pain and believe me, we GET it...we are on the same path....

Peace,

Mary

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ref, I am sorry you lost your wife one week ago...one week is so fresh, I would give it more time before trying to decide anything...right now it's enough just to process the information that she isn't having breakfast with you today. You have found a very caring site full of people who have been through it, some married a long time, some a short time, some never got to, but all of us in love with and committed to our partner and deeply shocked and saddened by their deaths. We're all here to go through this journey together and lend support to each other along the way. Feel free to continue coming back here and pour your heart out, this is the one place we can be safely understood. And I don't blame you for not wanting Christmas, I wouldn't think anyone would expect it of you.

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Ref..

I fully understand your emptiness and heartache, I am approaching my second Christmas since Ruth passed...you are in a very fragile stage of your grief and as someone said indeed raw and in a fog, I remember it Oh so well...what worked for me was to take things slow and easy, there is no timeline in which we must finish our grieving indeed we will all carry our losses with us most likely forever but we can heal and mend if we so choose, when we so choose...I had my first Christmas without Ruth with very little spirit of joy but I did have Christmas as Ruth and I shared much more than the commercial aspect of the special day, I had a small tree with her snowmen around it and her picture close by, I do not want to offend anyone but for me Christmas is very much still to be celebrated for the reason of the day only in a new way, just as each of our days are new since our spouse's have passed we must all find a comfort zone in all the things that are No More...Be gentle ref, one day at a time and if need be one minute, keep the tears flowing as said above it's the best healing you can get, I still cry some times as if it happened yesterday...I wish you comfort and peace in the days to come and may you find some answers as needed...

NATS

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Ref, the pain changes over time....it is horrific right now but it will change...and it is different for everyone. You can't judge how long that is but rather just be with it, own it, feel it, share it....don't stuff it down. It is 21 months since I lost Bill...the waves of grief still come and sometimes are overwhelming and other times a gentle wave that washes past my feet.

It is way too soon to decide anything about future relationships. I would not trade a moment of what I had with Bill to avoid this horrific pain....it was worth every minute. Take it slowly...no decisions right now. You are far too raw.

Be gentle with yourself,

Mary

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Ref, Yes that's a common reaction. Please try not to worry about that, it's much too soon for consideration, of course your grief is much too great. You have a lot to process right now, it's just enough getting through the day. Try to focus on taking good care of yourself and being extra patient and understanding of yourself.

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