Last December was one of the hardest times of my life. I felt like I was really falling apart after four very difficult years. I knew that either I had to get myself together and try to move forward or I was going to have a real breakdown. I have to say – it came pretty close to the breakdown.
I was lucky – I had a great therapist who tells it like it is. I also had support from friends and family. I also thankfully have a will inside of me that was not going to let that happen.
I think that the timing that I almost fell apart is very telling – December is hard. It is holiday time, school break, New Year’s Eve. We always hear how the holidays are hard for some people, how more suicides happen at this time, how we should feel for those who are alone, etc.. People make lovely posts about this on Facebook, and they try to say the “right” things – they mean well when they do this. But actually going through it is a whole other story.
We look on TV and social media and see joy and happiness.
Some celebrate with beautiful family gatherings around beautiful tables and amazingly decorated trees. Others fly off to exotic islands and gorgeous beaches. Then there are those who do neither. For us, December is hard.
I disliked this time of year even before Howie passed away. But not always. Growing up, Christmas break was fun even though we didn’t travel that week. I had two weeks off from school, and back then most of my friends were not away either. It was a great time to just hang out. And there was of course always a special New Year’s Eve celebration that I would attend. At one point, I had a boyfriend who celebrated Christmas and I really enjoyed celebrating it with him, something I had never had before.
This changed once I was married and the girls were born. Not depressing, nothing bad – just not my favorite week. We never went away during that break and it was always a little hard when it seemed like everyone else was away. There was one year when Amanda had mouth surgery during break – and she ended up developing an infection and a fever. Now that was a fun week!
After Howie died, December became beyond depressing.
Holidays are always a reminder that someone is missing. Plus, New Year’s Eve completely sucks when you are alone. There was one year that for the first time in my life I was home alone. I spent the night watching a “Shark Tank” marathon because I didn’t want to notice when it turned midnight. I am not trying to have a pity party – just want to show how this time of year can be really tough.
So last year I almost lost it – but I am grateful that I didn’t. Things have turned around for me, partly because I did what I could to make that happen. This December will still sort of suck. We will still be in NJ and endure the beautiful, happy pictures of other’s fabulous holiday seasons. But for me it will go back to “regular sucks” instead of “ultra sucks”.
I do have much more happiness this year – this year I am good.
Speaking from my own experience, December is hard. I am not making a blanket statement “the holidays can be hard for some”. The holidays ARE depressing for some. I’ve been there, others have been there and still may be. Not everyone’s life is a perfect Facebook picture.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.