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What will Santa bring me this year?

14 December 2011

I know what I’d like him to bring me but that isn’t likely to happen.

So far in the run-up to Christmas I’ve been really together – got all Nathaniel’s present delivered and stashed in hard-to-find places around the house. Decorations have been put up and don’t look too bad even without Cat’s critical eye for detail. Nathaniel has almost finished all his cards and we’ll be off to the post office on Saturday with the last ones. So all in all not bad. Okay, so I didn’t put all the decorations up as some of them were pre-Nathaniel and special to me and Cat only but maybe one year…

Anyway, once again it seems that as soon as you feel just a little content, life decides that you need a kick in the nuts to bring you back to reality.

I’m back into the doldrums again – It’s the first Christmas without Cat. Will it be ok? Will Nathaniel like what I (or rather, Santa) got him? Will I cock-up the roast Turkey? Things that, to be honest, are just not that important in the scheme of things and I shouldn’t waste my time worrying about. If I step back and try to look at this logically then as long as Nathaniel and I are together on Christmas Day then everything else can go jump.

Will all this self-inflicted stress I can hear Cat’s voice saying just one word:



One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 December 2011 9:06 am

    My daughter Kate was a friend of Cat and mentioned your blog to me.
    I hope you won’t be offended by my comments, but I wanted to say a few things to you as another widowed person.

    Everyone has to deal with things in their own time and their own way, I’ve been reading your blog and see a lot of familiar stuff.

    You talked about the people who upset you by saying ‘ it will get better’….well they may not have any personal experience but they’re just trying to offer something positive.
    You may think they’re just stupid, I was very resentful of what I thought were easy platitudes. BUT your feelings will change over time…nothing lasts, not even dreadful pain.

    We each feel Grief differently and what I say may not ring true for you but……….

    I think Grief gets worse over the first months. I’m guessing you felt “numb” while you dealt with all the bureaucracy . We draw on deep reserves that help us cope with things we need to do when someone is sick and then dies. You have a lot to manage and while there are things to be sorted you can’t allow yourself to give in to the pain.You also have a young child who you need to be ‘strong’ for.

    As I only know about your situation from my daughter I can only guess your state of mind, but those early tasks are complete now and you have time for sorrow. It can get overwhelming and scary. Family and friends who’ve not experienced loss are pleased when you seem to be coping okay at first so they’re dismayed when you start to fall apart some time later. This is because neither they nor you realise that your grieving is only just now beginning.

    It’s important to your future life and health that you let your feelings out. I found that pain, anger and depression all attacked at once and realised that I was helpless in the face of them. If that’s happening to you it’s important that you ease back from commitments and allow yourself lots of space and time to discharge those powerful feelings before you can move on at all…………..

    The getting better part is difficult for you to understand until some time has passed. The best image I can give you is of this HUGE black rock that dropped down in your path when your wife died. At first you can see nothing but this enormous, impenetrable blackness that is totally resistant to your every effort. Nothing you can do moves it out of the way or changes it at all. Grief is all there is, it occupies your mind totally, so you must allow it or you will break; that rock won’t. You can’t go forward on your original track but you can go around it.
    Very gradually you will start to glimpse edges to this mountainous awful lump. It no longer fills all the space in front of you, but it’s still there.

    One day somebody will say something that makes you really laugh, then there’ll be the first time you look at a Sunset and feel beauty again, then one morning you’ll wake up and Cat’s death is not the first thing that leaps into your mind. These signs are Hope.

    As time passes you’ll notice that you’ve moved far enough from that black rock that you can see beyond it to things on the far horizon.
    Eventually those vague blobs seem bigger. They take shape and become new interests that you’ll want to experience. Then you’ve started on the road to better times.
    You do have a future, it’s not the future you wanted but one that can still hold good things for you.
    Time will give you balance and perspective but not complete healing. You will always miss your wife and there’ll be times years from now when you’ll feel just as wretched as you do now, but you’ll build a life that’s worth living again.

    I do want to say one more thing…….the “5 Stages of Grief” are talked about by grief counsellors and can sound as if they were a programme you must follow. This is not so. Many widowed people don’t experience their loss in that kind of straightforward progression. Their stories are as individual as yours and mine.

    Lastly, finally, I’m really going to shut up in a minute,………..
    I want to recommend 2 books to you. Each is different and each shows you how someone more articulate than me dealt with losing a loved one.
    ………C.S. Lewis ‘A Grief Observed’……. is a short book but is one of the best written by a man about losing his wife and how he coped and sometimes failed to cope.
    ……..Joan Didion ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’…….. deals with the way she experienced the sudden death of her husband and found it impossible to accept and ‘get over’ in the expected way.
    Both books are easily bought from Amazon or borrowed from the library. I hope you read them because they may help.

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