Never thought about this before – but then, I have never been old before.
My mom was never alone in her home. When dad died, mom still had my sister to cook for, to clean for, to take care of, to shop with – how lucky was that. My brother was close by if she needed him. She stayed in the home where she had raised her children Now that I look at that existence for a widow – I think she was very lucky.
Nowadays, our kids are moving farther afield to get employment and educational opportunities. More often, now, our kids and their kids are long gone when we lose our life partner. Then the decision becomes – do we move or do we stay? For those of you who have followed this blog, I went through many steps to try to determine what to do when, for a long time, I didn’t even know who I was.
Mostly, my widowed friends and I have one thing in common – we moved on – closer to kids, nearer to a new mate, out of the house and into a condo or nursing home.
I moved to a resort town – constant entertainment and full of people my age. Over half the population of this village is over 65. I am learning from widowed friends how to live my life as a single and I am learning from those still with their life partners that you can still be independent and good company.
Christmas, now that I have moved six hours away from most of my family, is a different animal. At first, I spent my holidays on the 401 corridor, going back and forth from siblings, to kids to grandkids – trying to make sure that I got to see everyone and they knew they were important to me. NO MORE!!
I am going to leave my kids alone – with their own wonderful Xmas traditions and I am going to nest in my home – happy in the knowledge that my family is safe in their homes and I am not totally exhausted.
Of course, I will still enjoy buying gifts for the grandkids – they will be couriered and there for them on Christmas morning so they know I love them and miss them.
I admit that I look back on the days when all of my children and their children drove hours to get to our family home for Christmas. I made the house ready and baked for weeks. I planned meals and wanted everyone to be totally comfortable in their childhood home. I loved preparing big meals with bigger desserts and we girls happily did dishes into the late evening while enjoying each others’ company and the occasional bottle of wine. Those were the days my friend.
Now, if I go anywhere on Christmas Day, it is as a guest at someone else’s table. I feel old and “extra” and not an integral part of the celebration – no matter what anyone does to change that on my behalf.
So, as I approach the final stage of life, I can see the change in the spaces I occupy. I can’t be the organizer of the celebration anymore and, really, I should have know that even before Jim died.
I can’t help, from time to time, being nostalgic about how beautiful my life was, how much fun I had, and how much love existed for me. I was very lucky!