Bittersweet. You live that word. You ARE that word, knowing you will be sharing your last Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday moments together. Both of you know it. Neither talk about it much, if at all. You feel your way and try to stay positive while each of your hearts are breaking. You small talk, smile at each other; afraid and both feeling alone. You go through the motions.
It doesn’t have to be that way. A touch of the hand, a hug, an I love you is the start. A step to take a bit of the bitterness from the bittersweet. Each moment you are together is a gift. View it as such, grab the moments. None of us know when it is our time to leave this earth. Some of us through a long illness get a heads up. If you are in that situation this holiday season, my advice from personal experience is to grab every moment, turn it into a memory.
Smile through those tears, let your partner know some, a little, of your grief. Give your partner the chance to begin to talk about all those horribly lonely feelings and grief that is depressing, crushing him or her. After more than four years, I look back and over-think. I wish desperately I could do it better. I think about all those should of, could of, moments that interfere with remembering special holiday moments we did have together.
Each day you have each other, even through the pain and illness, is a good day. Each day a reason for thanksgiving and sharing. Live in the present while sharing and remembering your good times, your painful times and how you came through it all together. Those funny holiday moments are priceless, laughing together is truly the best medicine.
Keep your schedule light, spend time together uncomplicated. It is easy to use holiday responsibilities to family and friends as a needed distraction but at the expense of your limited time together. Make all holiday moments should count.
I remember all I had to do to make Randy laugh, hard! One day our daughter had a stomachache and asked Randy for a Rolaids. He gave her a disc and she started chewing. The most startled look came over her face as she chewed and chewed while foam bubbled over and out of her mouth. Randy had given her an Alka Seltzer! We laughed until we hurt.
We usually did the big dinners for our large family but this last year, my husband tired easily so we and our large family gathered at a local buffet known for providing all the mouthwatering holiday fixings.
Christmas day we opted out to spend the day together alone. It was a great choice. After opening our presents to each other, we cooked up a couple of Turkey TV dinners and later some popcorn. We spent the day sitting on the bed watching sappy and wonderful Hallmark Christmas movies. We held hands, laughed and every so often I saw a tear gather in his eyes. It was wonderful. It was bittersweet. Didn’t talk much, just held hands. Every now and then he would give my hand that “I love you” squeeze. I can close my eyes and feel his big wonderful hand squeezing me an “I love you” message. Priceless holiday moments. Our memories.
I still wish I would have, could have, spent every moment with him during those last months.
My advice to all of you in a similar situation in your life, grab every moment, every second you can to share, to encourage your loved one to talk. I encourage you to share each and every precious moment and make it into a memory. It will help your loved one now and will be a precious memory for you to hold close when you face a future without that loved one.
One last thought, don’t wait for that last holiday, treat this holiday season as if it was your last together. Love does endure. The rewards can be immeasurable.
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