Last year, my first holiday season without my husband, I had invitations for only two holiday related events. This year I had eight although the weather has already prevented me from going to a lighting ceremony for members only at the sculpture park and a potluck at the historical society. Two other parties I’ve already attended and of the four remaining parties I’ll be lucky if I don’t get snowed out of two because they are both out of town---the two I want to go to the most, my family’s annual Christmas Eve party at my niece’s and a Red Hat Society party.
Sunday I went to a family party on my deceased husband’s side of the family. Aside from the fact that’s its really weird calling Don “my deceased husband” which I’ve noticed myself doing in public lately, I was the second oldest person at the party. Of the thirty-seven people attending only two of us were old enough to collect Medicare. Talk about weird! It was weird looking around the room knowing that half the people there I’ve known since birth and the other half I’ve watched grow up from their teen years. But I feel at home with my husband’s family. They have always been warm and accepting of me both before and after Don died which, sadly, isn’t always the case for all widows. Invitations to in-law events dry up or a widow feels out of place.
On the way home from the party one of my great-nephew’s in-laws stopped over to complete a trade we’d worked out earlier in the week. He drilled a hole in a bookcase for me that I’ll need to pass a plug through when the cable guy comes on Thursday and I gave him a 1975 original watercolor that Don treasured. It was of a wooded scene with a deer standing at alert. This nephew had gone hunting with his dad and Don several times when he was a teen and Don always prided himself on teaching both of them about hunters safety, good hunting ethics and a love of the woods. Then after Don’s stroke the great-nephew became a guide for Don when he took part in Michigan’s first disabled deer hunt and camp. (It’s no small feat to get wheelchair bound guys out in the woods but this group of dedicated volunteers has been doing it for 7-8 years now.) The new proud owner of the watercolor just lost his grandfather a week ago and he had hunted with him for many times as well and his eyes got a little misty when I gave him the painting. It’s a good feeling to give things away that you know will have special meaning to others. Widow’s work like this never seems to end. Just when you think it has, another opportunity presents itself.