Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Widow Wednesday--Holidays as a single, only parent

Christmas for me is absolutely draining. Ray was diagnosed Christmas Eve, so that has always put a huge damper on what used to be my favorite holiday. As I said in an earlier post, his diagnosis was more like the day he died to me because he was never the same. That aside holidays when you are a single, only parent are a struggle.

What should be a joyous family day you are constantly reminded of that huge part that is missing. No matter how many people you are surrounded by that emptiness never goes away. There are always the feelings of missing out. What he is missing out on, what my girls and I are missing out on with him not here. He LOVED the holidays, didn't matter what holiday it was. So that makes it even tougher. Being surrounded by whole family units and seeing the photos on facebook etc. you see the part that is missing. What my girls are missing out on by not having their Dad. Even divorced families, most spend time with both sides and aren't missing that part of their life.

I always imagined spending a day Christmas shopping with my husband as they got older. Talking excitedly about what we were buying for them. Putting up the decorations as a family. I have downsized my tree and decorations because it is so hard for me to do alone. I have been offered help, but relying on others hasn't always turned out for the best. Waiting for a time when they are free to help instead of when we want to do it. Elf on the shelf, playing Santa are all extra difficult when you all sleep in the same room and are light sleepers. Thankfully, the girls have a great group of aunts and uncles that are up to help with that challenge.

Trying to make time to see everyone is hard and tiring. I am only one person to be driving from one place to another. Getting them dressed, food together, presents in the car, etc. My time before Christmas is swamped by photoshoots. I am constantly working or taking the girls to activities or helping with schoolwork. I don't have the help other people have. Even divorced families normally have rotating schedules and a break. In between I am cleaning, wrapping presents, and trying to make memories. I am not complaining because I would do anything for my kids, but it is tiring. I know a lot of people also have busy schedules but when you are also the only person to be worrying about all of this without anyone to talk to about any of it it causes strain on my mental health. It is exhausting.

I also never thought that one of our stops on the holidays would have to be to a cemetery. We see Ray every holiday. The girls like to bring books to read and depending on the occasion make him new flowers. Yes, we make our own arrangements so they can pick out things that are meaningful to put in the arrangement. This is something we would never skip doing no matter how busy we are.

I have started to learn that as time has gone by sometimes it is easiest to stop and do what is best for the girls and I and not worry about everyone else. Hard because I naturally do, but saying no sometimes has to be done. I am only one person and do most things on my own. I am all the girls have and have to be a happy, healthy mom for them.

I know the holidays are draining for everyone, but sometimes it is best to slow down and just enjoy things at home.

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