In my experience, misery (the widowed version), doesn’t love company, we actually often prefer to be where others are not. Nor do we want others to be miserable (translation: widowed). But most of us will probably feel miserable before we move on.
I didn’t put up a tree or decorate that first Christmas. The thought of unpacking holiday ornaments alone (even though friends had offered to help), or worse, coming home to an empty house with fake holiday cheer would have been unbearable. Be prepared to be miserable, to feel alone (you’re not), and to think that it’s always going to be this bad (it won’t). Being realistic about your grief and knowing that other widow/ers are experiencing the same often eases the pain and loneliness. We are together in our own little isolated worlds. I remember one holiday a few months after Robert died (I think it was Easter Sunday), I told relatives I was going to a friend’s house; and told friends I’d be with my family. Sometimes it’s not so much about wanting to be alone, as it is about not putting ourselves in the center of a joyous occasion that contrasts so sharply to how we feel. That said, it’s fine to pass on an invitation now and then, but don’t seek out constant isolation.
It’s been almost five years since Robert passed away. I had an OK Christmas that first year and thought I’d be fine New Year’s Eve, until I wasn’t and found myself weeping, despite being surrounded by wonderful friends. But the next year was easier and the one after that much better. Now I look forward to the excitement of the season. For those of you who are going through the holidays with a heavy heart, cherish your loved one’s memories, and know that in time you will find joy.