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A Wary Merry Christmas

Monday, December 29, 2014
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As I approach the 6th anniversary of Chris's death on January 13th, I have been reflecting quite a bit on how I approach the holidays.  I can honestly say that while grief does linger even almost six years out, "someday" is now and I do definitely enjoy Christmas again. Although I was hopeful that would be the case when I wrote this blog for Widow's Voice in 2009, I'm not sure I believed it with all my heart.  I am sharing it with you today in the hopes that you will find, if you have not already, that grief and joy can co-exist.


I spent last December 22nd in the emergency room, which isn’t necessarily an unusual place for an extremely pregnant woman to be. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to deliver a bundle of joy but rather to find the source of the unrelenting headache that had kept Chris in bed for almost two days. Within an hour of arriving at the ER, my world started to crumble when the attending physician suggested I call some family to sit with me because something had shown up on the CT scan. After an additional tense hour of waiting and the revelation that there were two large “masses” on Chris’s brain, the slow crumble became an avalanche and my world furiously collapsed around me. “I’ll never enjoy Christmas again,” I thought to myself.

Chris spent the rest of the week in the hospital while the doctors ran tests and determined the best plan of action. It was especially difficult for him to be there on Christmas Day. Chris loved Christmas. I mean he really loved it (don’t even get me started on how many days—yes, days—it took him to decorate our tree). We ate the traditional Diez family holiday meal of Kassler rib and sauerkraut in his hospital room. Chris’s sister, trying desperately to bring some joy to the day, brought the meal to us in a picnic basket along with cloth napkins and real plates and silverware. Ian, in his dapper holiday outfit, visited daddy and marveled at all the machinery in the room. And all day long, I thought, “I’ll never enjoy Christmas again.”

My last holiday season was a tumultuous ride of major life events: terminal diagnosis, birth of a baby and death of a spouse within a three-week span. “I’ll never enjoy Christmas again, “ I thought for months.

But inexplicably, a little bit of the Christmas spirit has penetrated my guarded and grieving heart in the last few weeks. Maybe it is the continuous loop of Christmas carols running through my head or the abundance of holiday lights and decorations in my neighborhood. Perhaps it is the pure joy and excitement that Ian exudes when talking about Santa. Or possibly, it is the deep desire to feel “normal.” Whatever it is, I’m grateful that my grief has moved over and made a little room for happiness this season. “Maybe I might enjoy Christmas again…someday,” I have found myself warily thinking recently.

I know I am hardly the first widow to feel great sadness during the holidays. So, my earnest wish is that Santa may bring you all some bit of joy during this season. It is what our loved ones would have wanted.

I wish you a Wary Merry Christmas.

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