No one wants to be alone for the winter holidays. It seems as though everyone but you has a happy place to go and a loved one to be with.
Alone For The Holidays
TWO KINDS OF ALONE
On November 9, Diane, widowed for 11 years, learned that Ian, her sole offspring, was taking his young family to Europe to spend the rest of November touring the continent, and all of December with his Greek in-laws.
On December 20, Debbie’s husband, Brent, suddenly announced that their 8-year marriage was over and he wanted a divorce. He'd fallen in love with an Indian dermatologist he’d met a few months ago at a medical conference in New Delhi, and now she was pregnant. The next weekend he packed up and moved out.
For the first time in many years, both Diane and Debbie would face the winter holiday season alone.
For Diane, the problem wasn't overwhelming. She'd been a widow long enough to have made a number of friends, many of them single. She contacted everyone she thought might also be on her own for the holidays, but found they had already made plans. So Diane decided to turn her winter holidays into adventures.
Diane had always wanted to be part of a volunteer program feeding the homeless, but had never done anything about it. This time she went on the internet and found U.S. VolunteerMatch Thanksgiving. It listed a number of places that were looking for volunteers, and she ended up at a church in the next town. She spent the whole day setting up, serving Thanksgiving meals, and helping with the clean-up. She loved every minute of it, and promised to come back the following year.
Diane had never taken a cruise on her own, and she thought it would be difficult to find something she could afford at the last minute. But she found just what she wanted at the Cruise Critic’s Best Holiday Cruises. (Cruise Critic is a useful site that describes, evaluates, and prices many different cruises.) Diane decided to go for a 10-day Costa Cruise on the Costa Deliziosa because their Christmas dinner features a seven-course dinner of her favorite Italian specialties. She was pleasantly surprised to find two old friends onboard, plus she met Charlie who taught her how to tango.
Debbie’s marriage hadn't included much intimacy for the past several months, but that, she'd thought, was due to Brent’s frantic work schedule as a single dermatologist in a busy, new practice. She was deeply shocked to learn that he’d been having an affair and wanted a divorce. Debbie had no job, and therefore no workplace to help take her mind off her problems. Her closest friend had just moved to Canada, and her mom was in a nursing home for dementia. Feeling alone and abandoned, Debbie stopped sleeping, lost her appetite, and found herself crying much of the time. She went to bed for 5 days, living on popcorn, diet coke and daytime TV. Finally, sick to her stomach and 4 pounds lighter, Debbie visited her doctor.
The doctor put Debbie on a mild anti-depressant, and recommended she check out an organization called DivorceCare which has support groups meeting weekly throughout the U.S., Canada, and internationally. Debbie found a DivorceCare group in her city, and started going to meetings. Debbie and some new friends from her group shared Christmas dinner at a local restaurant and a small New Years Eve party at Debbie’s house. In January, she consulted a job counselor and enrolled in a course to bring her computer skills up-to-date. After three months, Carol was sleeping better and had begun to eat more normally. After six months, Carol was ready to try life without an anti-depressant.