Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For the Newly Widowed - 6 Mistakes to Avoid to Get Through the Holidays

It’s the holiday season.

Whoop dee doo!

And you newly widowed find yourself smothered in mistletoe and smiling faces. Seems everyone is singing a happy tune – Everyone except you – And you wonder: How will I make it through the holiday season without Him by my side?

Well, it's okay.

It's alright.

Because I’m here to tell you, you can. And you will.

While I can’t change your circumstances, I can offer 6 mistakes for you, newly widowed, to avoid this holiday season. And they will help you turn your upside down smile right side up again.

Here they are:

1. Wearing your heart on your sleeve -

Moaning, whining, and groaning is no way to spread holiday cheer. Beat those blues -- Go shopping! Bake bread! Dust homemade brownies in confectioner’s sugar. Plastic plate them, wrap everything in crimson and pine colored see-through wrap, then stick a bright bow on it.

No. Not for you. For someone you don’t know.

You need not be rich as Donald Trump to honor that responsible receptionist who smiled brightly that frosty morning you were late escorting Him for that dreaded doctor visit, or to make that next door neighbor who prepared spaghetti dinner for you after the funeral feel appreciated. A home baked goodie from your kitchen, a box of inexpensive chocolates from the corner drugstore wrapped in foil and tied in ribbon with your hand written note complimenting a job well done attached to it is bound to win praises and melt the iciest of hearts -- Yours!

Performing the simplest act of kindness at this time of the year is life’s greatest gift, to you. I promise you will feel great and you will make a friend.

2. Showing too many tears -

Not a good thing, especially this time of year. Yes, you, newly widowed, miss your life partner. And life sure sucks without him by your side. Yes, I know, you hate every freaking light on that tree. But don’t let it spoil your holiday.

Instead, honor your man. Let His spirit fill your senses. Go to church, light a candle; make a donation to a favorite charity in His name. Heck. Toss 4 quarters in that black as coal metal kettle, the one with the silver-bearded guy dressed in velvet red suit standing alongside it. Let the klink of silver-coated copper coins fill your brain as they bounce to the bottom. Then raise your eyes to the heavens and thank Him for watching over you and helping you get through a holiday.

3. Getting caught with a frown -

Greet friends, neighbors, and family members with a great big smile. Hold your head up. Make eye contact. Flash those pearly whites. Say in your brightest cheeriest voice, “Happy Holiday! Happy Healthy New Year!”

You will be surprised at this infectious behavior. And you will get a chuckle at your friends’, neighbors’, and family members’ reactions, expecting you, newly widowed, to behave in a different manner. No, we can’t be the life of the party, I don't expect that. But, we sure can have a good time trying.

4. Dressing down -

Dress for success sounds trite, I know. But it’s true. The simple act of cleaning up, putting on a pretty face, and donning a frilly outfit will work wonders for your self esteem. Not only will you look good, you will impress everyone you meet.

So get to your closet, pull out something red, something green, something gold and silver. Pair it with that black silk skirt or pair of black velvet slacks you stashed away thinking you’ll never wear this again. Open that jewel box. Oh, c’mon. Ain’t a lady on planet earth what doesn’t own a fancy silver broach or string of snow white pearls. Okay, so they’re not real. I promise not to tell.

5. Making it too complicated -

Widows get a bum rap. Don’t be deterred if your former friends don’t include you in their annual house party. You remember: The one you used to attend in a past life when He was at your side.

Throw a party of your own. Invite dear women and darling gentlemen. Yes, the people you met at bereavement. Ask everyone to bring a favorite goodie to eat or drink. Betcha 4 commemorative quarters you’ll win the mending hearts and respect of those widows and widowers. And, you’ll be one baby step closer to eking out that niche in your new life.

6. Being depressed –

It’s that time of year. The one that brings out the best in us; the worst in us.

But here’s the kicker. On this one event, we do have a choice. So make it positive one. Think happy thoughts.

Missing a life partner, especially this time of year, is normal. Being sad, is normal. No matter our culture, our religious belief, or our holiday traditions, the one thing we share is grief. But if you pay attention to my 5 mistakes to avoid this holiday season (outlined above), you just may find yourself with an ear-to-ear grin and caroling a happy tune, too.

We have only to look to Rudolph. Against all odds, just look what that flying red-nosed reindeer did. Now that's what I call inspiration.